Barclays to axe another 1,700 jobs


Barclays has been accused of making a "colossal mistake" over plans to axe 1,700 jobs across its branch network.

Unite warned that customer service could suffer as result of the cuts.
The union said Barclays informed its workforce that it will be cutting 1,700 frontline roles, including cashiers, personal bankers, operational specialists, branch managers and assistant managers throughout 2014.

Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: "It's a colossal mistake for Barclays Bank to announce 1,700 job cuts across its bank branches.
"These employees deliver high levels of service that customers of the bank benefit from. Such a massive reduction will be very detrimental to the bank and will also be hugely challenging for the staff remaining.

"Unite is pressing Barclays to reconsider this proposal for the sake of its reputation for high customer service. Consumers want to engage with knowledgeable, highly experienced, professional staff. By taking 1,700 of the workforce away, Barclays risks massive reputational damage.

"Members in branches will be facing a period of considerable uncertainty in the current harsh economic climate.

"Unite will now be having further urgent discussions with Barclays to put alternative proposals to the bank. Barclays has already agreed to Unite's demands for a voluntary redundancy register, to set up training grants for colleagues leaving Barclays, and to compensate colleagues who volunteer to reduce their working hours.

"The union will also be seeking firm assurances that there will be no compulsory redundancies following the completion of the voluntary exercise.

"Unite is challenging the view that customers prefer to bank using machines instead of the dedicated staff currently working in Barclays branches across the country."

Unite said the news comes on top of last week's announcements of the closure of the Coventry and Dartford centres, which put around 600 workers at risk of redundancy.

A Barclays spokesman said: "The way in which our customers access their banking services is changing rapidly.

"More and more people are choosing to use smartphones and technology for everyday transactions - using branches only when they need access to expertise.

"We are responding by investing in the channels that customers are increasingly using, whilst improving customer service.

"This means training staff so they can provide that expert support but also reducing staffing levels in our branches where there is over-capacity.

"As a result of technological changes, we will be able to provide better service for our customers with fewer staff in our branches. Today we have outlined a voluntary redundancy scheme for those colleagues who are interested.

"We are committed to working with our impacted colleagues so that they are fully consulted and have access to the support and services they require."

© 2013 Press Association

10 things we hate about our banks
See Gallery
Barclays to axe another 1,700 jobs

More than 46,000 of 106,000 the complaints received by the FOS in the second half of last year related to payment protection insurance (PPI). And the organisation is expecting to receive a record 165,000 PPI complaints in 2012/2013.

The huge numbers are due to the PPI mis-selling scandal that should now be a thing of the past, but there is no doubt that the insurance, which can add thousands to the cost of a loan, is highly unpopular!

(Pictured: Martin Lewis after the PPI payout ruling)

Complaints about mortgages jumped by 38% in the last six months of last year, the FOS figures show, compared to an increase of just 5% in investment-related complaints.

Common gripes about mortgages include the exit penalties imposed should you want to sell up or change you mortgage before a fixed or discounted deal comes to an end, and the high arrangement fees charged by many lenders.

While there is nothing in the data released by the FOS about the number of complaints relating to savings accounts, hard-pressed savers have been struggling with low interest rates for several years now.

You can get up to 3.10% with Santander's easy-access eSaver account, but many older accounts are paying 1.00% or less and even this market-leading offer includes a 12-month bonus of 2.60% - meaning that the rate will plummet to just 0.50% after the first year.

Banks are imposing the highest authorised overdraft interest rates since records began, with today's borrowers paying an average of 19.47%, according to the Bank of England.

A typical Briton with an overdraft of £1,000 is therefore forking out around £200 in interest charges alone. Coupled with meagre returns on savings, it's enough to make your blood boil!

While authorised overdrafts may seem expensive, going into the red without permission will cost you even more due to huge penalty fees.

Barclays, for example, charges £8 (up to a maximum of £40 a day) each time that there is not enough money in your account to cover a payment.

If you need to send money abroad, the likelihood is that your bank will impose transfer charges - and offer you a poor rate of exchange. Someone transferring a five-figure sum could easily lose out by £500 or more as a result.

The good news, however, is that you can often get a better deal by using a currency specialist such as Moneycorp.

Automated telephone banking systems, not to mention call centres in far-flung parts of the world, are one of our top gripes - especially as we often encounter them when we are already calling to report a problem.

In the words of one disgruntled customer: "What is it about telephone banking that turns me into Victor Meldrew? Well, maybe it's the fourteen security questions, maybe it's the range of products that they try to push or maybe it's because I'm forced to listen to jazz funk at full volume while my phone bill soars.

"Actually though, I think it's because the people I eventually speak to rarely seem able to solve the issue I'm calling about."

The days of a personal relationship with your bank manager are long gone - for the huge majority of us at least.

When ethical Triodos Bank investigated recently why around 9 million Britons would not recommend their banks to a friend or relative, it found that almost a third felt they were not treated as individuals. Another 40%, meanwhile, were simply disappointed with the customer service they received.

When you're in a rush, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long queue at your local branch.

Researchers at consumer champion Which? recently found that most people get seen within 12 minutes, but you could have a much longer wait if you go in at a busy time. Frustrating stuff!

The Triodos Bank research also indicated that the bonus culture that ensured the bank's high-flying employees received large salaries, even when it was making a loss at the taxpayer's expense, was hugely unpopular with consumers.

About a quarter of those who would not recommend their current banks said this was the main reason why. And with RBS executives sharing a £785 million bonus pool despite the bank, which is 82% publicly owned, making a loss of £2 billion last year, it's not hard to see why.

Read Full Story