Lloyds 'to axe hundreds of staff'

Updated: 

PA

Lloyds Bank is to axe 645 jobs and close a telephone banking centre under fresh cost-cutting moves, a union has revealed.

Unite attacked the cuts and said it would press for a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

Over 2,400 jobs have gone at the taxpayer bailed out bank since the start of the year leading to "plummeting" staff morale, said Unite.

Half the job losses half will result from the Warrington site's closure by the end of 2014, in a move Unite branded as "unjustified" and a "bad deal" for customers. Most of the other cuts will be from the group's wealth business and HR function, said Unite.

National officer Rob MacGregor said: "This is the third tranche of job losses since the beginning of the year and is in danger of sending staff morale to an all time low.

"The closure of the Warrington centre will hit the local economy and risks damaging customer service.

"Lloyds staff have worked hard since it was bailed out by the taxpayer to make the bank a success.
Their reward has been continual uncertainty and attacks on their pensions.

"Lloyds needs to give its workforce stability and guarantees of no compulsory redundancies. Only then will the bank be able to live up to its motto to Make Britain Prosper."

Lloyds confirmed the job losses, but said 65 new roles will be created across group operations and retail.

A statement said: "Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with employees in a careful and sensitive way. All affected employees have been briefed by their line manager today.

"The group's recognised unions were consulted prior to this announcement and will continue to be consulted.

"The group's policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group. Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary redundancy.

"Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort. In fact, since the strategic review in 2011 around only a third of role reductions have led to people leaving the group through redundancy."

Lloyds said that of 15,000 previously announced job losses, 13,055 will have gone after today's news.

Lloyds said that as part of its "simplification programme" set out in its 2011 strategic plan, it had reached the decision to close its Warrington Contact Centre.

Around 180 jobs will be lost, with around 120 moving to Speke, in Liverpool.

"Telephone banking call volumes are falling as digital banking usage continues to grow, and we are refocusing the business to reflect these changes in our customers' habits, while ensuring we maintain our high standards for those who wish to continue using our telephone banking systems by bringing our telephone banking colleagues together at fewer, more specialised sites," said Lloyds.

"Pooling our talent in this way enables us to operate more efficiently and improve our service to customers while providing greater career opportunities and a stronger support network for colleagues.

"As with any decision that affects our colleagues, this was a very difficult one to make.

"We will do everything we can to provide support for both our employees and the local community to manage this transition. We will work with our colleagues wherever possible to try to find suitable roles for them elsewhere within the Group.

"We are also working with external employment agencies and setting up an on-site dedicated resource centre to provide additional support and opportunities for those colleagues whom we are unable to redeploy internally."

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