Strike threat as 3,000 UK staff at HSBC face cuts

HSBC could be hit by strikes across its UK business after it warned more than 3,000 staff their jobs could be axed in its latest cost-cutting drive.

Britain's largest banking group said that plans to restructure its wealth management division meant 3,166 employees were at risk of redundancy. It added that, because some 2,000 new roles will be created, the net job loss would be closer to 1,149.

The trade union Unite described the cuts as a "disgrace" and warned that it had not ruled out balloting its members for industrial action.

The latest cuts are part of a three-year revival plan being spearheaded by the group's chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who hopes to reduce costs across the group and improve profits. HSBC says the move will improve the standard of advisers in the business.

HSBC employs more than 47,000 staff in Britain. The bank hopes to have reduced its global headcount by 30,000 by the end of the year despite posting group profits of $20.6bn in 2012.

Dominic Hook, Unite's national officer, said: "HSBC is making staff suffer in the search for ever greater profits. The bank's behaviour is a disgrace. After making proposals to slash pensions, holidays and sick pay, the bank is now slashing even more jobs. Staff are at the end of their tether and we will be asking them in due course if they are prepared to take part in a strike ballot to oppose this unprecedented attack by this very profitable bank.

"The cuts HSBC are making will affect the whole business and will mean fewer personal advisers serving more customers and small and medium-sized businesses getting less support when they should be getting more.

"These cuts are about putting profits before people and will do nothing to improve service or the image of the banking industry."

In response, HSBC said it would do "everything possible" to help those impacted fill the 2,000 new jobs being created.

It said the proposals would ensure that for the first time so-called Premier customers, who hold over £50,000 of savings and investments with the bank, will have a relationship manager "qualified to give financial advice as a single contact point for both their banking and wealth management needs".

Brian Robertson, the head of HSBC's UK business, said: "I understand change is always unsettling, particularly for those directly affected. However, I also firmly believe what we are proposing is essential in order for us to fulfil our customers' expectations.

"With the banking behaviour of our customers continually evolving, we must change our business to meet their needs.

"We are doing everything possible to offer impacted employees opportunities from the many newly created roles, and I'm confident a significant majority will remain with the bank."

The cuts come in the wake of comments by HSBC's chairman Douglas Flint earlier this week, who warned that the banking industry is at risk of "excluding" poorer customers.

"The worry is that the industry is moving towards serving high net-worth individuals rather than those at the bottom of society," he said at a conference in London on Monday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot