Unions in uproar as Barclays axes 1,700 frontline jobs in automation drive

Unions have urged Barclays to reconsider cutting up to 1,700 frontline jobs as the bank moves to reduce spending and step up the level of automated services to customers.

Unite branded the move “a colossal mistake”, and said the latest cuts, which Barclays said would be voluntary, followed a warning to the bank’s staff in Dartford and Coventry that 600 roles could be axed.

The jobs that are to be cut are in the retail division, formerly run by Anthony Jenkins, who is now Barclays’ chief executive. Jenkins has delivered a string of presentations to the City setting out the bank’s increasing use of technology – a shift which analysts predict could lead to around 40,000 job cuts from the bank’s total workforce of 140,000.

Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: “It’s a colossal mistake for Barclays bank to announce 1,700 job cuts across its bank branches. These employees deliver high levels of service that customers of the bank benefit from. Such a massive reduction will be very detrimental to the bank and will also be hugely challenging for the staff remaining.”

A Barclays spokesman said: “More and more people are choosing to use smart phones and technology for everyday transactions – using branches only when they need access to expertise. We are responding by investing in the channels that customers are increasingly using, while improving customer service.

“This means training staff so they can provide that expert support but also reducing staffing levels in our branches where there is overcapacity.”

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