An employee of a Barclays call centre almost died after workers at the bank were given de-stress balls by their union.

Members were handed the squashy balls to squeeze when any tension became too much. But, for the unlucky lady, the toys did not have the desired effect.

Within seconds of walking into the office, she collapsed with a severe latex allergy, brought on by breathing in minute levels of latex in the air.

Unifi, which represents 170,000 workers in call centres, is conducting an investigation.