Banks under fire over job cuts
Two of Britain's biggest banks have come under fire from unions after announcing plans to cut thousands more jobs in the industry.
Lloyds Banking Group said it will lose 15,000 staff by 2014 as part of new chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio's strategic review, while HSBC said it will cut 700 roles.
The unions said they were "flabbergasted" by the day's job losses and accused the banks of finding "any excuse" to cut them. Mr Horta-Osorio, who took up the top post in March, was unrepentant and insisted the cuts had to be made for the good of the bank and UK economy.
The latest cull at Lloyds, which owns brands including Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Scottish Widows, will bring total job losses at the 41% state-owned bank to nearly 45,000 since it was formed in 2009 when Lloyds TSB and HBOS merged.
David Fleming, Unite national officer, said the Lloyds review will cause "deep distress and anxiety".
He said: "Astonishingly one in eight roles will be lost over the next three years. This review is merely another box-ticking exercise to give this bank - which has already, since its creation two years ago, cut over 27,000 staff - an excuse to sack more employees."
Addressing concerns about job losses, Mr Horta-Osorio said: "It's important to note that these are roles not people. We have a strong record of minimising redundancies."
But he added: "We have to do this. This bank has lost money, it's losing money this year on an after-tax basis. We have to get this bank back on to its feet to support the UK economy and we have to pay taxpayers' money back."
HSBC said it was reshaping its wealth management business before Retail Distribution Review rules are introduced in January 2013. The new law will mean UK banks can no longer offer financial advice for free, so HSBC expects demand for the service to decline. However, the bank will still have 1,500 advisers across the UK.
David Fleming said the union was "flabbergasted" by HSBC's staff cuts and accused the bank of attempting to "bury its own bad news" on the same day as Lloyds announced its job losses.