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Barclays axing 900 staff in ‘disgraceful’ pre-Christmas move, says Unite

The bank said is was seeking to ‘simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns’ (Tim Goode/PA)
The bank said is was seeking to ‘simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns’ (Tim Goode/PA)

Banking giant Barclays is cutting 900 jobs in its UK business as it looks to slash costs in a “disgraceful” pre-Christmas move, trade union Unite has said.

Unite said the jobs would go across a number of back-office divisions, including compliance, finance, legal, policy, IT and risk.

Affected staff were told at lunchtime on Tuesday, according to the union.

Barclays did not confirm numbers, but said it was taking actions to cut its workforce “as management layers are reduced and the group improves its technology and automation capabilities”.

Unite branded the decision to axe staff in the lead-up to Christmas “disgraceful”.

A spokesman for Barclays said: “We are taking a number of actions to simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns.

“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.”

It comes amid reports the lender is working on plans to slash up to £1 billion as part of a strategic overhaul to buoy profits.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said: “Barclays is disgracefully cutting jobs to further boost its massive profits.

“This is a mega-rich bank that is already on course to make eye-watering profits this year.”

Unite added that the divisions impacted by the job cuts included Barclays International and Barclays Execution Services, which provides technology, operations and functional services to businesses across the group.

Barclays has cut costs in recent years, and has already seen jobs go across its retail and investment banking businesses.

Its Barclays Execution Services division, known inside the bank as BX, is said to be taking the brunt of the latest job cuts.

The division was set up in 2017 to bring together support functions for the bank’s main two businesses – UK retail banking and international.

The group had around 22,300 staff in total at the end of last year.

Barclays chief executive CS Venkatakrishnan, known within the group as Venkat, said on unveiling the group’s third-quarter figures in October that he was considering cutting costs.

He said at the time that the bank saw “further opportunities to enhance returns for shareholders through cost efficiencies and disciplined capital allocation across the group”, which the bank admitted could result in structural changes across the business.

It reported a pre-tax profit of £1.9 billion for the three months to September, slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations but below last year’s £2 billion profit.

The bank’s boss was said to be facing pressure to reduce its reliance on investment banking and return more capital to investors.

It was mulling plans to drop thousands of clients at its investment bank as part of the overhaul, according to the Financial Times.