Staff at Banbury finance company call for urgent action to allow them to work at home

Staff at a Banbury finance company, Firstsource, say they are being subjected to unreasonable anxiety because the are not being allowed to work from home.

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 5:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 5:20 pm
Beaumont Road estate where Firstsource workers have called for laptops to enable them to work at home during the coronavirus emergency

The 100 or more staff work for Firstsource on Beaumont Road which deals with commercial loans on behalf of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG).

Some have reported to the Banbury Guardian that they feel unsafe because of a risk of coronavirus transmission.

One said: "Some have vulnerable family members at home and are very frightened of taking the Covid-19 virus home. People are working without distancing, some in close proximity. They should be able to work from home but there are not enough laptops.

"The company said a week ago they would have these within 48 hours but they have not been produced. The staff are being told if they do not report to the office they will not be paid or will have to take the time in leave."

Staff also reported concerns about insufficient hand sanitiser and no extra soap for hand washing. They felt there was risk associated with a large number of people using communal toilets. The workers believe government advice is not being followed, putting them at risk.

Some have questioned whether the function of commercial loans is 'essential' work. However they are content to work at home if they can be given laptops to allow them to do so in safety.

A spokesman for Lloyds Banking Group said: "We look after facilities management for the building via a contract and are also sourcing the laptops for Firstsource.

“The health and well-being of colleagues and customers is our priority and we continue to follow UK Government advice to ensure everyone remains safe. Our colleagues in operations centres play a critical role in supporting our customers at this challenging time for the country.

"We have already advised all our colleagues who can work from home to do so and we are actively looking at how we can enable more colleagues to work from home, including those who work in our Banbury offices."

He said demand for laptops is' incredibly high'. "We are working at pace and putting an incredible amount of effort into this programme. The health and well-being of colleagues and customers is our priority," he said.

“We’re adhering to social distancing in all our offices and branches and reminding colleagues of the precautions they need to take, such as more frequent hand washing. All of our buildings are subject to enhanced cleaning.”

The spokesman said more hand santiser has been ordered and there is soap readily available for colleagues to regularly wash their hands.

"Our branches, operations centres and contact centres continue to open only for key workers providing essential services for customers who most need our help. We have paused any operations which are considered not to be essential at this time," he said.

"We will keep these arrangements under constant review as we appreciate the situation is changing rapidly. If Government advice or customer demand changes, we will respond to that."