Santander agrees to  ‘Boxing Day’ premium

Telecoms & Financial Services

Thursday 5th November 2020

Following representations by the CWU, Santander has agreed to make a special additional payment to  those attending work on  December 26 – even though that day is not formally the Boxing Day bank holiday this year.

On account of the traditional post-Christmas family day falling on a Saturday this year, Monday December 28 is the official bank holiday – meaning that those contact centre staff scheduled to work as normal on December 26 would not automatically have qualified for any premia.

Amid feedback of significant membership disquiet from branches, the union’s Santander National Team escalated the issue to management earlier this month, making the points that:

  • December 26 is still Boxing Day to most people as it follows Christmas Day and most people don’t want to work this day as they want to be with their families
  • Given Santander’s branch network will be closed on the 26th, more calls than normal are likely to be received by the call centres  –  raising the likelihood that the day, which also coincides with the Boxing Day sales, may be quite busy
  • With around 70% of those scheduled to attend as normal on December 26 working from home at present, Boxing Day attendances will throw up exceptional issues this year for those who have family gatherings over Christmas.

Responding to those points, Santander announced last Thursday that it is prepared to make a premium payment on the 26 December.

The Bank said: “Having listened carefully to the feedback from CWU that, whilst not an official bank holiday, Saturday 26th December is nonetheless important family time for many colleagues, we have reviewed the areas which are open in CICC and have closed a number of areas based on forecast demand from customers. 

“We have also carefully listened and reflected on CWU’s representations on the issue of a payment for those colleagues who do work on 26th December.  As a result we are prepared to agree to pay a one-off payment of £60 as a gesture to signal the banks appreciation of the commitment shown by those colleagues to supporting customers.  This £60 is a fixed amount and will not be pro-rated for part-time colleagues.  We anticipate around 650 colleagues being in scope of this payment, together with circa 25 colleagues in Fraud Operations,  which is also open on Saturday 26th December.”

                       Sally Bridge

Commenting on Santander’s welcome statement, CWU national officer Sally Bridge said: “I’d like to give credit to the sensible and carefully considered way in which the Bank has reflected on the points raised by the CWU – all of which reflected the heartfelt views of our members.

“Santander’s thoughtful response represents a  victory all round for common sense – and one which I have no doubt will be welcomed by all those CWU members who are scheduled to work on December 26.

“An added bonus is that the company has also agreed to CWU representations over the need for early engagement with the union over arrangements for the 2021/2022 festive period – when Boxing Day will fall on a Sunday and New Year’s Day on a Saturday – because obviously similar questions to those we have successfully resolved this year will be thrown up by next year’s Christmas calendar.”

  • Subsequent to last week’s welcome response to CWU lobbying Santander has this morning (Thursday) gone one step further, informing staff that as a “positive gesture of thanks” after a difficult year, all employees will be given an extra half day’s leave.

For those working in the Bank’s call centres this will  be scheduled between the dates of November 9 and December 18 – with the opportunity being allowed  for mutually beneficial swapping of the half day off amongst colleagues.

Meanwhile, the Branch network – which was originally scheduled to be open until 2pm on Christmas Eve – will now be shut in its entirety on Thursday December 24, with those not scheduled to work that day taking the additional  half day’s leave at a different time.

Sally concludes: “Taken in conjunction with Santander’s highly responsible decision to roll over the £30 budget it allots each employee for festive celebrations with their colleagues until things are a bit more normalised, this represents a  very satisfactory conclusion to the  Bank’s arrangements for the 2020 festive period.”