Barclays, the British bank, has informed its employees of its intention to reduce its workforce by approximately 450 positions across various departments, according to statements from the trade union Unite.
It is understood that this reduction is expected to primarily impact mid- to senior-level personnel based at the bank’s head office.
Unite, which serves as the representative body for Barclays staff, has expressed strong opposition to what it deems an “unnecessary and unwarranted” decision that affects individuals with moderate incomes at the bank.
The trade union has announced its plans to hold discussions with Barclays’ chief executive to advocate for a commitment to avoiding any mandatory job cuts among its workforce, given the risk to approximately 450 staff positions.
Dominic Hook, the national officer for Unite, raised questions about the rationale behind cutting jobs in a highly profitable financial institution like Barclays during a period marked by a cost-of-living crisis.
Families will loose their primary source of income
He emphasised that Barclays is not struggling to stay afloat, as it continues to generate substantial profits. Hook voiced concerns that implementing plans for compulsory redundancies would result in hundreds of families losing their primary source of income, creating financial hardships, particularly for those employees with more modest salaries within the bank.
Unite has taken a firm stance against these proposed job losses and has called upon Barclays to commit to a policy of no mandatory layoffs. The union has urged the bank to reconsider and urged cooperation in providing retraining and redeployment opportunities to affected staff members.
In response to these developments, a spokesperson for Barclays reiterated the bank’s commitment to regularly reviewing and adjusting its operations in response to changing customer preferences. The spokesperson explained that these workforce adjustments aim to enhance collaboration within teams, ultimately improving service quality for customers and clients. Additionally, Barclays expressed its dedication to supporting its employees during this transition and emphasised its willingness to work closely with Unite to facilitate a smooth process.
Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says:
“Whilst this announcement will of course be unsettling and worrying for employees, businesses do not have to be non-profitable for there to be a viable redundancy situation. It is ultimately the organisation’s decision to make, and the tribunal will not look at whether such a decision is or isn’t morally right, they are concerned with whether the process is carried out fairly. The affected employees should be consulted with in a meaningful way before any final decisions on making redundancies are reached.
“Where the numbers at any one establishment are such that collective consultation is triggered, such consultation will need to take place over a long enough period to ensure that the legal requirements are satisfied. The purpose of consultation is so that all avenues are explored. This should include considering whether there are any other ways in which the redundancies could be avoided and to explore whether there is any suitable alternative employment that could be offered.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.