New family-friendly shift options boost Santander work-life balance

Telecoms & Financial Services, Santander

CWU representations to Santander UK for a simpler and more attractive set of shift patterns to help members manage their working requirements with their personal commitments have been comprehensively answered.

Following detailed talks with the Bank that kicked off early in January, employees working in the banks’ contact centres are now being offered a revised range of options – which crucially include no change whatsoever for those who wish to remain on their existing patterns.

“Very early on the CWU sought and secured the Bank’s agreement that any move to new shifts would be entirely voluntary,” stresses CWU Telecoms & Financial Services (TFS) Executive member and CWU Santander National Committee chair, Gordon Johnston.

“That was important, because there will always be some for whom the current working patterns work well – hence the ‘opt in’ system for the new shift patterns we agreed.

“By the same token, however, feedback from our members has consistently told us that more family-friendly shift patterns would not just be highly welcome for many, but that they would also help with staff retention and be far more appealing to individuals considering Santander as an employer,” Gordon continues.

“As such we wanted to see a new set of shift patterns that provided for fixed start and finish times; the removal of rotations to working patterns – which can create massive headaches for those trying to juggle fixed commitments outside work – and new options for condensed shift patterns and weekend/ part-time working.”

Following discussions with the CWU, Santander UK shared its initial proposals with staff in February – asking them to review the new shifts and select their preference. After a number of iterations and further consultation with the union, a finalised ‘suite’ of new shift patterns has now been unveiled that the CWU unequivocally supports and that will see over 700 employees move to a new shift pattern

Full details are contained in Santander Members Bulletin No.117/2023 but, significantly, the new arrangements do not result in any changes to existing terms and conditions and include special one-off payments for those who could have been deterred from applying for new shifts for monetary reasons – particularly important given the current economic climate.

“The CWU was acutely conscious that some members may have been reluctant to move from a shift that attracts an allowance currently to one that does not,” explains Gordon.

“In order to mitigate this, we successfully negotiated a one-off payment for those particular colleagues wishing to move to a fixed shift pattern to the value of their maximum annual premium in line with the allowance they receive today.

“All told the CWU warmly welcomes Santander UK’s implementation of the new suite of shift patterns into the Generalist and Specialist Contact Centres, as we strongly believe this gives our members the ability to rebalance the requirements of work with their personal commitments,” Gordon concludes.