Bankers and City workers have been told to dress down or avoid coming to work at all next week to dodge expected attacks from G20 summit protesters.
With thousands of activists believed to be heading towards central London for the ‘Financial Fool’s Day’ protest on 1 April and demonstrations outside the G20 Summit on 2 April, businesses are advising City staff to dress more casually to avoid being targeted, cancel all non-essential meetings, and work from home where possible.
Branches of Lloyds TSB and Halifax in the City are expected to be shut for the two days of protests to protect their staff, while financial advisory group Bluefin has told staff not to come in unless absolutely necessary.
The City of London council has said that although financial premises are the primary targets of the demonstrations, this could be extended to all businesses across the city.
Together with the London Chamber of Commerce, the council has issued guidelines to businesses across the capital advising them to cancel all deliveries, review smoking areas that could weaken security, and keep movement in and out of businesses to a minimum.
Colin Stanbridge, chief executive at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), told Personnel Today: “There will be concern from business over the two days of protest, but the vast majority of firms will have robust security arrangements in place.
“Many firms will have had advice already on how to prepare for the protests, and there will be a concerted effort in the days building up to the G20 to inform businesses as to what to expect.”
Employees are also being provided with access to an “Alertline” to call in case they are confronted by protesters.
The anticipated disruption is expected to cost the capital £5m a day.
Meanwhile, HR directors have backed a government scheme to train 60,000 workers in retail, hospitality and security sectors on how to ‘prevent, handle and recover’ from a terrorist attack. The government-funded training will take three hours and include a video simulation of an attack followed by a group discussion.
Jan Marshall, HR director at Marriot Hotels, told Personnel Today: “Security staff in particular would benefit from having this training, giving them more information and knowledge. It might give people more confidence if they had received this little bit of expert training to deal with difficult situations.”
Lesley Cotton, the HR director at Paramount Restaurants, supported the training, but warned the video training must be balanced so that staff did not unnecessarily suspect certain groups of people.