Unions attack ‘brutal’ cuts as banks axe 1,700 and ‘export’ jobs

NBNK's bid for Lloyds assets may be boosted by funding from Middle East
NBNK's bid for Lloyds assets may be boosted by funding from Middle East
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TRADE unions last night attacked two taxpayer-backed banks for making more than 1,700 “brutal” job cuts and transferring some 300 posts to India.

Lloyds Banking Group is cutting 1,300 jobs, including about 130 posts in Scotland, while Royal Bank of Scotland is axing 464 staff, including almost 20 north of the Border.

Unite and Accord said it was another “black day” for the financial services industry and questioned why the UK government was not intervening.

The unions said that, since the start of the financial crisis, Lloyds has cut some 28,600 workers and RBS around 26,000.

Lloyds said the job losses were part of its previously announced strategic review and would affect its group operations, executive functions, wholesale and insurance divisions. In Scotland, the posts will be lost in HR and IT, with some of the jobs shifting overseas to India.

RBS is cutting 464 posts at its Private Banking Direct unit, including the closure of an office in Bristol and losses in Leeds and Wimbledon, although it said it was also creating 150 jobs.

David Fleming, Unite national officer, said: “The announcement of 1,764 job cuts in these taxpayer-supported institutions is truly brutal. How can there be any justification for the UK government not intervening as these much-needed jobs are lost?

“To learn 300 jobs are being transferred to a low-wage economy adds insult to injury. Once more these banks are attacking some of their lowest paid staff to achieve cost savings.”

Ged Nichols, general secretary of Accord, said: “This is a black day for Lloyds employees. More than 30,000 have lost their jobs since the bank was created with the takeover of HBOS three years ago and today Lloyds has announced that a further 1,600 roles will be ‘removed’, more than 1,300 of them through redundancy, including more than 300 off-shored to India.

“These employees are paying the price for the failure of others, as the Financial Services Authority’s report into the collapse of HBOS made clear last week.”

Lloyds, which is 40 per cent owned by the taxpayer, said it would work through the job losses with staff in a “careful and sensitive way”, using natural turnover and redeployment where possible. The bank added: “Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort.”

RBS, which is 82 per cent taxpayer funded, said: “We are working hard to rebuild RBS to repay taxpayers and having to cut jobs is the most difficult part of this process.”