HUNDREDS of bank workers in West Yorkshire face the axe as Lloyds Banking Group unveiled plans for further cost cutting – and fears are growing that many Huddersfield people could be among those who will lose their jobs.
The group is set to cut 5,000 posts in the UK next year on top of thousands already scrapped this year.
The latest plans include shedding about 460 jobs in Leeds, where the group has two major operational sites.
A further 70 will go at the Halifax banking business – with most of those cuts coming at the Trinity Road offices in Halifax and a handful being lost at the bank’s Copley data centre.
The Halifax employs many hundreds of people from the Huddersfield and Halifax areas and a considerable number are also thought to work in Leeds.
Staff at high street branches are not affected by the latest staffing cuts which will hit staff at operational level in areas including insurance and mortgages.
The latest jobs announcement drew an angry response from union leaders.
Rob MacGregor, national officer of the Unite union, said the decision demonstrated the depth of “corporate arrogance within this taxpayer-supported bank.”
He said: “This country’s financial sector should be looking towards the future rather than continuing to slash jobs without proper consideration of how to rebuild the public’s confidence in our tarnished banking sector.
“Today marks the start of another dark week for finance workers. It beggars belief that, just days after 5,400 jobs were cut in RBS and HSBC, we see further devastation for workers in this part- nationalised financial institution.”
Mr MacGregor said Unite was seeking a suspension of the job cuts until an agreement could be reached with the company for no compulsory redundancies in any section of Lloyds.
“The Government cannot afford to continue to look the other way as hard-working families are punished in this manner,” he said.
Ged Nichols, general secretary of Accord, the union representing the largest number of former Halifax Bank of Scotland employees now working in Lloyds, said: “We always recognised that some job losses were inevitable as Lloyds TSB integrated HBOS operations, but the scale of changes announced today will leave many staff in shock.”
Lloyds said the 5,000 jobs would go in its group operations, insurance and retail divisions by the end of 2010.
The bank said the cuts would be “significantly mitigated” by redeployment and the release of contractors, temporary staff and offshore employees.
A statement said: “Taking these mitigating actions into account means there will be a net reduction of about 2,600 permanent jobs across the UK by the end of 2010.”
It said: “Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with colleagues carefully and sensitively. All affected colleagues have been briefed by their line management. Unions were consulted prior to this announcement and will continue to be consulted throughout the process.”
The bank said it would seek voluntary severance where possible and would use compulsory redundancies as a last resort.”
Lloyds has cut about 10,000 jobs since taking over HBOS at the end of last year.
The deal – backed by Gordon Brown at the height of the credit crisis to stave off the nationalisation of ailing HBOS – created a giant with 3,000 branches, 22m current accounts and 27% of gross mortgage lending.
Lloyds believed the takeover was a good long-term bet, but the “toxic” baggage brought by HBOS’s reckless lending and the impact of recession on its loan book has seen the Government take a 43% stake.
The state initially pumped in £17bn but will invest another £5.7bn under a mammoth £13.5bn shareholder cash call announced last week.
Lloyds has also been forced into a major shake-up to appease European Commission concerns over state support – agreeing to sell the branches and business of Cheltenham & Gloucester and Lloyds TSB Scotland, as well as some Lloyds TSB branches in England and Wales. The TSB brand and internet operation Intelligent Finance will also be offloaded.
HUDDERSFIELD and surrounding towns boast a large number of Lloyds TSB branches which could now find themselves under threat.
The town centre of Huddersfield has branches at Cloth Hall Street and Westgate as well as a specialised business service at the latter.
Market Street in Milnsbridge, Southgate in Elland and Carr Lane in Slaithwaite all currently have branches of the bank.
The bank also has sites at Bradford Road in Brighouse, Wessenden Head Road in Meltham and Victoria Street in Holmfirth.
Further out of Huddersfield, there is a branch at Albion Street in Cleckheaton, Market Place in Dewsbury, which also has a business banking service, Commercial Street in Batley and there is a commercial banking centre on the Centre 27 Business Park, close to Junction 27 of the M62 at Birstall.