Barclays Will Cut 1,700 Branch Workers, Labor Union Says

Barclays Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets, will cut 1,700 jobs in its British branches, according to labor union Unite.

Cashiers, branch managers and support staff will see their jobs eliminated and were told today, Unite said in a statement on its website today. Employees will be offered severance packages, London-based Barclays said in a separate statement.

Barclays Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins said in February he is seeking to cut 1.7 billion pounds ($2.7 billion) in annual expenses by 2015, eliminating 3,700 jobs.

“Such a massive reduction will be very detrimental to the bank and will also be hugely challenging for the staff remaining,” Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, said in the labor union’s statement.

Barclays said last week it is closing a consumer-banking call center in Coventry, England, by June, cutting as many as 350 jobs, according to Unite. Some of those positions will be relocated to other sites, according to the bank.

“As a result of technological changes, we will be able to provide better service for our customers with fewer staff in our branches,” Barclays said in the statement. “Today, we have outlined a voluntary redundancy scheme for those colleagues who are interested.” The company didn’t provide any details on the severance packages.

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