LLOYDS Banking Group is to axe almost 1,000 jobs and close three offices, including its Scunthorpe site, in a “devastating” blow to workers. Meanwhile, the Australian owner of the Yorkshire Bank put its UK operation under review, fuelling uncertainty among its 8,300-strong workforce.
Lloyds said 990 jobs are being cut and offices closed in Romford, Newcastle upon Tyne and Scunthorpe, as part of its previously-announced strategic review, sparking anger from unions.
Accord general secretary Ged Nichols said: “Today’s confirmation that Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) is to shed nearly 1,000 more jobs on top of the 30,000 that have been lost since the Halifax Bank of Scotland Group was taken over just three years ago is devastating news for the employees who will be affected and the communities in which they live.
“Newcastle, Romford and Scunthorpe are areas that cannot afford to lose the high-quality jobs that will go as a result of today’s announcement.
“Whilst Accord has informed LBG that it must do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies and work with us to provide support and guidance to those affected, the truth is that even those who volunteer to go will find it difficult to find alternative employment in these difficult economic times.”
David Fleming, national officer of Unite, said: “Already some 28,000 employees have lost their jobs as a result of the past poor management decisions at the top of this organisation. Now staff across the LBG insurance, human resources, wholesale, retail and group operations will face an uncertain future.
“Unite believes that this announcement is inappropriate as the full requirement of the group’s divestment is unknown. Unite will be holding discussions with the bank, with the objective of minimising the need for job cuts following this further restructuring. The organisation must do more to offer redeployment opportunities to their workers.”
Lloyds said: “The roles will come from within group operations, group executive functions, risk, wholesale and insurance divisions. Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with employees in a careful and sensitive way.
“The group’s policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group.
“Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary redundancy. Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort.
“In fact, during 2009, 2010 and 2011, slightly less than 50% of the role reductions made as part of integration have led to people leaving the group through redundancy.”
Yorkshire and Clydesdale owner National Australia Bank (NAB) has given itself until May to complete a strategic review that will steel the business for a slow economic recovery.
The overhaul is expected to shrink the size of its UK operation, which has 337 branches, although reports in Australia have said it may look to renew efforts to exit the UK market altogether.
Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and has 185 retail branches, while Glasgow-based Clydesdale, which was bought by NAB in 1987, has 152 outlets.
David Fleming, Unite national officer, said of the NAB review: “News of this strategic review has come out of the blue for the workforce of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks across the UK. Unite has grave concerns about the scale of the review and over the future commitment of NAB within the UK.
“We have opened up dialogue with management in order to get urgent clarification as to the possible implications for the staff.”