HSBC set to cut thousands of UK jobs

Around 48,000 HSBC workers are employed in the UK. Picture: AP
Around 48,000 HSBC workers are employed in the UK. Picture: AP
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BANKING giant HSBC has confirmed plans to axe up to 25,000 jobs worldwide, including as many as 8,000 in the UK, and revealed it is to rebrand its British high street operations.

The bank said the job losses are part of an overall cull which will reduce its total full-time workforce by around 10 per cent, with the aim of slashing costs and overhauling the business. It will also shrink its employee base by another 25,000 amid plans to sell off operations in Turkey and Brazil. HSBC employs around 48,000 of its 258,000 staff in the UK.

The company added that its UK retail bank – which is being relocated from London to Birmingham by 2019 amid regulatory “ringfencing” rules – will operate under a new brand.

The group also announced aims to trim its worldwide network of branches by 12 per cent, with the UK being one of seven regions to be affected.

It declined to give further details for UK branch closures.

There was speculation yesterday that plans to rename HSBC’s retail arm will see a return of the Midland Bank brand to the high street, the chain which was swallowed up by HSBC in 1992. HSBC has 1,057 branches across the UK.

The job cuts come as the bank seeks to deliver annual cost savings of around £2.9 billion-£3.3bn by the end of 2017.

The group also announced aims to sell its businesses in Turkey and Brazil, as they do not have the scale needed to compete with rivals.

In its keenly-awaited strategy update, HSBC added it would make a decision about where to base its headquarters by the end of the year, after announcing before the UK general election that it was considering a move away from the UK due to regulatory and structural reforms.

It would probably take the bank two years to move its headquarters, if it decides to do so.

HSBC said it was undertaking a “significant” reshaping of the business. Group chief executive Stuart Gulliver said: “We recognise that the world has changed and we need to change with it.”

The Unite union said the UK job cuts were the latest example of a workforce being punished for the misconduct of senior and investment bankers.

Dominic Hook, its national office for finance, said: “Unite are seeking to meet with UK chief executive Antonio Simoes as soon as possible to demand that any redundancies are through voluntary means or managed through natural attrition.

“Frontline staff have suffered time and time again as they are forced to pay for the mistakes of others with their jobs.”

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