Barclays to boost branch staff after cull

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Barclays is to cut 800 management and support jobs as part of a shake-up that will see it recruit an extra 1,000 branch workers. The job losses announced yesterday form part of a move to strip out duplication after the merger of three of the bank's UK divisions earlier this year.

At the same time, Barclays said it would look to reduce queuing time at its branches by taking on 1,000 new staff for frontline positions.

Barclays said some of the job losses would be met by leaving posts vacant, while the bank will also seek to redeploy as many staff as possible. The savings, which are being carried out in consultation with the staff union Unifi, will partly help Barclays to fund the recruitment of new branch workers. About 200 such posts have already been filled, with the rest expected to be in place by the end of this year.

The changes follow the creation of one UK banking division, bringing together the company's three operations serving personal customers, businesses and customers with high incomes.

Barclays has more than 2,000 branches in the UK, with 26,000 people employed at offices, call centres and on the high street. In 2003, Barclays recorded group profits of £3.84bn - an increase of 20 per cent on a year earlier - of which about half came from the UK banking division.

The chief executive of UK banking, Roger Davis, said the moves were part of a drive to improve customer satisfaction. He said: "We all felt we needed to do more to get customers back in the focus of the business."

Barclays also said it would drive up starting salaries for cashiers, with a new recruit in central London set to earn £14,000 a year, plus a bonus and other benefits. There will also be enhanced responsibility for managers at about 300 Barclays' branches. The company has also introduced other initiatives recently, including quick pay point machines.

Mr Davis added: "We have made a start with the additional 1,000 customer-facing staff, and are also doing much to improve pay rates at the front line to aid recruitment, retention and leadership. There is much more to come this year and next as we speed up the transformation of UK banking to deliver all that our customers rightly expect of us."