Banking giant Lloyds brought about angry reaction by swinging the jobs axe again, taking the number of cuts to more than 8,000 in the past few months.
Unions accused the company of “betraying” the taxpayer with the latest 1,200 losses, warning that the pace of redundancies was now unsustainable.
Unite said it was “Groundhog Day”, and called for a freeze in the expansion of work done abroad by the bank because of the “uncertain future” faced by UK employees.
The job losses follow moves to combine former HBOS and Lloyds TSB group operation functions, including IT and collections.
Lloyds is also bringing together support functions for the life, pensions and investment businesses which will impact divisions such as marketing, finance and sales operations.
Group operation staff in locations including Edinburgh, Southend and Halifax will be affected, while insurance division cuts will be made largely across offices in Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds. The bank stressed 370 of the job cuts would be through the release of contract and agency staff and added it was also creating 180 permanent jobs across the merged group operations function.
Lloyds said: “The group’s preference is to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge.
“Where it is necessary for colleagues to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by voluntary severance. Compulsory redundancies will be a last resort.”
Unite’s national officer Rob MacGregor said: “The 1,200 job losses announced today show the betrayal of taxpayers’ support to maintain Lloyds Banking Group (LBG). What is the justification for 8,200 staff to be cut in the last three months while Lloyds continues to perform considerable work out of the country?
“We appear to have Groundhog Day where thousands of staff each week are told that they are to lose their jobs, yet LBG remains a state-owned bank. Unite views the weekly cull of jobs a disgraceful approach by this taxpayer-supported financial institution.
“Today staff in the IT, life and pensions and operations departments face the reality that LBG is operating centres abroad while they are told that their jobs are redundant.”
Unite complained that staff were living under a cloud of uncertainty because of a series of job loss announcements by Lloyds since its merger with Halifax Bank of Scotland.
Accord, the union representing the largest number of former HBOS employees now working in the LBG, urged Lloyds to end the “unsustainable” pace of redundancies which it warned was beginning to undermine services to customers.
Staff morale was being “severely damaged” by the scale and pace of the job losses, said the union, which called for a halt to the cuts.
HBOS heartlands in West Yorkshire, Edinburgh and Bristol were hardest hit by the announcement, said Accord.
General secretary Ged Nichols said: “Today’s announcement is devastating news for those affected.
“Staff morale within the bank is being severely damaged by these seemingly never ending announcements and we believe customer service is starting to suffer.”