British banking giant Barclays will cut 900 jobs across its domestic business, trade union Unite revealed on Tuesday, calling the bank’s move “disgraceful” in the run-up to Christmas.
According to Unite, the cuts would mostly target the bank’s back-office divisions such as compliance, finance, legal, policy, IT and risk.
The affected staff were reportedly notified about being fired at lunchtime on Tuesday.
Barclays described its actions as a restructuring “to simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns.”
The company’s spokesperson was quoted by AFP as saying that “This includes changes to our headcount as management layers are reduced and the group improves its technology and automation capabilities.”
“We are committed to supporting impacted colleagues through these changes,” the spokesperson added.
The lender has been cutting costs in recent years, closing branches and laying off staff. It is reportedly now working on plans to slash up to £1 billion ($1.2 billion) as part of a strategic overhaul to buoy profits.
“Barclays is disgracefully cutting jobs to further boost its massive profits,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, according to AFP. “This is a mega-rich bank that is already on course to make eye-watering profits this year,” she argued.
Last month, Barclays signaled that more cutbacks could be coming as the bank’s net profit for the third quarter dropped 16%.
Meanwhile, consumer groups have been raising the alarm that the closures of high-street branches at Barclays and other British banks could particularly hit the elderly as they predominantly still use cash.
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