Barclays Faces Backlash as it Announces 900 Job Cuts Ahead of Christmas

Trade Union Unite Deems the Move “Disgraceful” Amid Concerns Over Impact on Services and Staff

In a pre-Christmas shocker, British banking giant Barclays has unveiled plans to cut 900 jobs across its domestic business, a revelation that has been met with strong criticism from trade union Unite. The union has labeled the move as “disgraceful,” raising concerns about the timing and the potential impact on employees during the holiday season.

Unite reports that the bulk of the job cuts will predominantly affect the bank’s back-office divisions, including compliance, finance, legal, policy, IT, and risk management. Disturbingly, affected staff received news of their dismissals during lunchtime on Tuesday, heightening the distress of an already challenging situation.

Barclays defended its decision, framing it as a strategic restructuring aimed at simplifying and reshaping the business, with the goal of improving service and delivering higher returns. The bank emphasized a reduction in management layers and enhancements in technology and automation capabilities as part of this overhaul.

A spokesperson for Barclays, quoted by AFP, stated, “We are committed to supporting impacted colleagues through these changes.” However, Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, expressed strong condemnation, asserting, “Barclays is disgracefully cutting jobs to further boost its massive profits.”

Graham continued, highlighting the bank’s anticipated substantial profits this year and characterizing the job cuts as unnecessary for a financially robust institution. Barclays has been on a cost-cutting spree in recent years, closing branches and laying off staff, with ongoing plans reportedly targeting savings of up to £1 billion ($1.2 billion) as part of a broader strategic overhaul to bolster profits.

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Last month, Barclays hinted at potential future cutbacks as the bank’s net profit for the third quarter dropped by 16%. Simultaneously, consumer groups have sounded the alarm over the closure of high-street branches, particularly at Barclays and other British banks, warning that this could disproportionately affect the elderly who still predominantly rely on cash transactions.

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