At the recent Unite/ Barclays National Company Combine (BNCC) meeting of 16th October 2014, members of the committee expressed deep concern over the increasing and unacceptable pressure experienced by our members as a result of the continued changes being implemented by Barclays across the Network arising from the Branch Transformation Programme. The BNCC has lost patience with Barclays and does not believe they are currently prepared to make any material changes to the BTP programme to alleviate the significant problems experienced by our members – and Barclays’ customers - on a daily basis.
The BNCC has therefore taken the decision to call for an emergency meeting with Barclays’ senior leaders in the Network to discuss what short and medium term steps must be taken to address this crisis.
It is our firm view that the staffing crisis impacting across the UK was totally avoidable and, had Unite's concerns been properly listened to and acted on several months ago, we would not now be faced with the disturbing stories we are hearing from many communities across the network.
We believe that this crisis is linked to the introduction of ASC’s into branches, in tandem with the after effects of the large scale voluntary redundancies seen earlier this year. The end result of this is that members are faced with a multiplicity of problems, which must be tackled urgently for the sake of colleagues and customers alike. To précis some of the issues brought to Unite’s attention by members in the Network and already raised by Unite in recent meetings with Barclays:
1. Poor customer experience leading to anger, abuse, threats and even, on at least one occasion, violence being directed at staff.(Note to all staff – it is extremely important that all instances of abuse are properly recorded and reported as we believe that many incidents are not being formally recorded at present, and as a result the business does not have an accurate picture of the extent of the problem).
2. Managers, AM’s and OS’s are fire-fighting every day just to help deal with the flow of customers, often to the detriment of their substantive role
3. Customers choosing not to use the ASC enabled branch and consequently putting the other branches in town under severe pressure.
4. Staff regularly having to work their rostered day off and work significant overtime – including regularly forgoing lunch hours, to plug the gaps, with inconsistencies in the payments being made to staff.
5. A resourcing model which is not taking into account all of the relevant factors.
6. It is only the goodwill of staff working flexibly, outside their contractual requirements that is keeping the network operational.
As far back as June, Unite shared a number of ideas and suggestions for dealing with this crisis. We believe insufficient progress has been made to address these issues. We have been talking to the business for a long time about our deepening concerns, and we have not seen enough concrete action to alleviate the problems that thousands of our members in the Network are facing on a daily basis.
What is required is immediate and decisive action and Unite is absolutely determined to convince the business to act now.
Unite will not rest or let up on the pressure that we intend to bring to bear on the business until we see firm signs of positive change coming through – Unite will not tolerate our members suffering in the way that we know they have been. This is our commitment to our thousands of members in the network.
If you work in the Network and want to bring issues in your Branch or hub to Unite’s attention, please contact your local Unite representative, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We need as much information as possible in order to ensure that the fact-base that we are drawing from in our dealings with Barclays is reflective of the total picture in the Network.
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