London - Part state-owned British banks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland announced a total of 1 900 job cuts on Tuesday, drawing the anger of the Unite trade union which said it had written to the government urging it to intervene.
Lloyds said it was cutting 1 600 positions as part of a broader plan first announced last year to cut 15 000 jobs and halve the group’s international presence.
RBS said it was cutting a net 300 jobs approximately, with the reduction of 464 positions offset by 150 new jobs elsewhere.
Trade unions have sought to highlight the contrast in the fortunes of many banks’ branch staff, who have faced job cuts and meagre wage growth, with that of their boardroom directors, who have still pocketed multi-million pound bonuses.
The Unite union said it had written to UKFI - the body set up by the government to manage the state’s bank holdings - asking for the government to intervene. UKFI declined immediate comment on the situation.
“How can there be any justification for the government not intervening as these much-needed jobs are lost from our struggling economy,” Unite national officer David Fleming said in a statement.
Both Lloyds and RBS said they would try and keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
“We are working hard to rebuild RBS in order to repay taxpayers for their support and having to cut jobs is the most difficult part of this process,” RBS said in a statement.
“We strive at all times to be open and honest about the tough choices we are making and we remain committed to providing our customers with the same high level of service as we make changes to our Private Banking Direct structure,” it added.
Lloyds said that of the 1 600 affected positions, it was transferring some 300 workers over to its suppliers, meaning that they would still have a job.
Britain owns about 82% of RBS and 40% of Lloyds after bailing out both banks with taxpayers’ money during the 2008 credit crisis.
Since the crisis, RBS has cut 34 000 jobs while Lloyds has cut about 30 000.