Union calls for industry-wide approach to protect bank branch staff

FSU estimate between 5,000 and 6,000 staff are working directly in branch networks

Union officials estimate that between 5,000 and 6,000 workers in the banking industry work in or are linked directly to branch networks.

Union officials estimate that between 5,000 and 6,000 workers in the banking industry work in or are linked directly to branch networks.

 

The Financial Service Union (FSU) has written to the State’s banks and the Central Bank looking for an industry-wide approach to protect frontline staff working in branches throughout the State as Covid-19 spreads at pace.

Union officials estimate that between 5,000 and 6,000 workers in the banking industry work in or are linked directly to branch networks.

“We are inundated with calls, texts, emails, WhatsApp messages from very fearful staff who feel their employers response is not consistent and sufficient and that is why a sectoral set of protocols to support and protect front line staff is necessary,” said Gareth Murphy, head of industrial relations and campaigns at the FSU.

He said that consistent protocols across the industry - concerning personal hygiene and branch cleaning, social distancing, the minimisation of customer footfall in branches, instances where self-isolation is needed - are “vital to the maintenance of the branch network”.

Mr Murphy said banks in general are allowing pregnant staff or other at-risk branch employees to work from home or take leave, if necessary, on full pay.

“We understand, more than most, the importance of the branch network in serving local communities and particularly for vulnerable customers,” he said. “But for this to work during Covid-19 the protection of front line staff is paramount.”