Barclays Bank has just announced its intention to cut 1,700 frontline jobs from across its branch network. Staff affected are set to include cashiers, personal bankers, branch managers and operational specialists, with roles due to be axed next year.
The job cuts come at the same time as the bank is scaling back the number of branches, with the changes said to be in response to an increasing number of customers choosing to do their banking online or through mobile channels rather than heading to their local branch. As such, the bank wants to "invest in the channels that customers are using, while improving customer service".
A spokesman for the bank said: "As a result of technological changes, we will be able to provide better service for our customers with fewer staff in our branches," but promised that affected staff members will be fully consulted and supported throughout the process with a voluntary redundancy scheme being offered to those who are interested.
However, industry experts are skeptical of the decision and have warned it could be a "colossal mistake".
Dominic Hook, national officer of trade union Unite which represents some bank staff, is concerned by the news. "Such a massive reduction will be very detrimental to the bank and will also be hugely challenging for the staff remaining… By taking 1,700 of the workforce away Barclays risks massive reputational damage," he said.
Currently the bank has 1,577 branches and some 33,600 staff, with the cuts amounting to the equivalent of one job loss per branch. The announcement comes just a week after the bank said 600 jobs would be lost due to branch closures in Coventry and Dartford, while a further four branches will be closed and services moved to nearby Asda stores in a pilot supermarket banking scheme.
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