Barclays does staff U-turn

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The Independent Online
BARCLAYS BANK, despite being in the middle of a massive redundancy programme, is trying to rehire staff to cope with labour shortages, writes David Bowen.

Half of the banks' 20 regions are recruiting workers on temporary contracts of up to six months, and one is specifically looking for people who used to work in its branches.

The London South region, which instituted 100 compulsory redundancies earlier this year, has issued a circular saying it has a short-term staffing problem and asking staff if they know of former employees who might be interested.

The magazine Personnel Management quotes a memo from area headquarters saying that ''the most likely candidates would preferably have worked for the bank in the recent past (including those who left under the voluntary redundancy scheme).' Barclays has reduced its workforce by 18,000 since 1991, and chief executive Martin Taylor is seeking another 5,000 redundancies by the end of next year.

A spokeswoman for the bank said the problem was caused by permanent staff being sent away on courses to learn about new technology and having to spend time inputting data into the new equipment.

'Areas are finding they do need bodies behind the scenes, and there have been instances of bringing people back from voluntary redundancy.' As long as they had left the bank more than two years previously there would be no tax implications, she said.

A spokesman for the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union said the shortage had been caused by 'a cock-up'. He added: 'People feel extremely bitter.' He claimed that at the Barclaycard headquarters in Northampton, 20 per cent of the jobs are now done by expensive agency staff.

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