DIARY: Hard pressed clerks bank on dedicated PR team

While most of the PR world stayed off line until the end of the interminable Christmas and new year break, the in-house team at the Banking Insurance and Finance Union (Bifu) were working flat out.

While most of the PR world stayed off line until the end of the

interminable Christmas and new year break, the in-house team at the

Banking Insurance and Finance Union (Bifu) were working flat out.



Head of publicity Noel Howell and press and publicity officer Heather

Tilston were in the thick of Bifu’s battle with the clearing banks.

Workers were protesting against having to work on the afternoon of

Christmas Eve and on 2 January. Until last year UK banks shut at

lunchtime on Christmas Eve and the second day of the new year was a bank

holiday in Scotland.



While the bank workers protested their lack of holiday, Howell and

Tilston gave up theirs to issue nationwide press releases from the

union’s headquarters in London, and organise a photo-shoot of a protest

outside the City head office of Midland Bank.



The PR team even persuaded union officials to turn up to demonstrations

in fancy dress. One official dressed as a turkey and another was

photographed for the Telegraph as Scrooge.



’Bank staff agreeing to work all day Christmas Eve without compensation

is like turkeys voting for Christmas,’ said Howell. The Bifu team, who

would not say whether they had received compensation themselves, worked

every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Even then, Howell kept

his mobile switched on. ’Fortunately, I wasn’t contacted,’ he said.



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