HSBC extends opening hours, alienates staff

In a recent move that was met with delight by its customers but anger by its staff, HSBC announced recently that there will be an extension of its operating hours to during the day on Saturday and late into the night during the week in several of its locations.

40 HSBC branches will now remain open until at least 7 in the evening.  Additionally it will increase the number of its UK branches open on Saturdays to an even 500.

Saturday opening is already commonplace at several hundred branches of HSBC, mostly in urban areas.  The new branches added to the extended opening list are mostly in suburban and rural environments.

HSBC has expressed this hope that with more flexible opening hours, customers with demanding schedules will find it easier to conduct their banking business on any given day.  The new Saturday opening hours are from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, though each location may display some variation.

HSBC’s banking staff are not as enthusiastic about the coming change, however.  The Guardian recently reported that harried branch staff are considering bringing the union Unite into the fray over lack of compensation in relation to the extended opening hours.

In a statement issued by the union’s national officer, Cath Speight, Unite has declared its vehement disagreement with HSBC’s decision to alter staff member contracts in a unilateral manner, considering that most branch managers work very long hours and make annual salaries in the £19,000 range, if not less.

Due to the alteration of their opening policies, HSBC has stated that approximately 1,500 staff members will experience scheduling changes.  Saturday will become another work day; staff will not have to work a consecutive six day work week however.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Metro Bank’s promise to have similar opening hours, though the new bank is open on Sundays as well.  HSBC denies that the new opening hours policy is in direct response to Metro Bank, but did acknowledge that the current trend amongst UK banks is a lengthening of opening hours.

In a statement issued by a spokesperson for HSBC, the bank said that in responding to customers’ needs  to have branches open at times convenient for them, it fulfills its responsibilities as a financial institution.  HSBC concluded by saying that they may not be blazing any trails in their decision to extend opening hours, but they do hope that it will encourage other banks to engage in the same behaviour.

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