NatWest's job cuts hit morale

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL Westminster Bank's announcement yesterday that it is cutting job numbers by 4,000 more jobs this year has further damaged morale among bank staff associations, already hit by Monday's statement from Barclays Bank that it is increasing staff cuts over five years from 18,000 to 21,000.

NatWest said the job reduction figure was not related to the number of staff redundancies; as far as possible the changes would be achieved voluntarily through natural wastage, early retirement and severance.

Dai Davies, of the NatWest Staff Association, said: 'From the staff's point of view it's absolutely devastating. Customer service in banks, which has been criticised recently, will get even worse.

'Quality junior staff are leaving the bank because clerical jobs which they would have done for six to nine months now may last five years.'

Mr Davies also said that the traditional view of the high street banks as 'cradle-to-grave' employers was being further undermined by the increasing use of temporary staff. NatWest was using hundreds in its processing centres, he added.

There were 5,000 job losses at NatWest in 1992 and another 4,000 last year. This year the bank is planning 3,880 job cuts across the high street branch network and another 800 in support areas, with an offset of 480 new jobs.

The driving force behind job losses in banking is new technology, coupled with low interest rates which increase the need for cost- cutting.

NatWest said it was committed to implementing a number of initiatives using new technology.

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