Lloyds Banking Group is to cut 200 jobs from its general insurance arm, bringing total losses at the bank to 7,500 this year.
The banking giant – which is 43 per cent owned by the taxpayer – said it was combining the support functions of the Lloyds TSB and HBOS general insurance division into one integrated business, including sales, marketing, actuarial and underwriting operations.
Staff affected by the cuts were briefed by their line managers yesterday, and Lloyds said it was committed to working through the changes “carefully and sensitively”.
However the move, which comes after a turbulent period for the bank’s staff, has been criticised by unions.
Rob MacGregor, national officer of the Unite union, said: “We have no confidence in this bank’s confused strategy. Only last week Lloyds Banking Group decided to abandon the closure of the Cheltenham & Gloucester branch network bringing a reprieve for 900 staff. This week they are cutting over 200 jobs.
“This steady stream of announcements and cuts is soul destroying for the workforce at this state-owned bank and it must end.
“Staff are expected to give the customers the best possible service but don’t know if they have a job from week to week.
“These cuts are not in the interests of the customers, or the taxpayers who own this bank. The government needs to be more hands-on and put an end to poor management at the bank.”
Workers were told that the latest job cuts will take place by the end of January 2010.
Lloyds said in a statement that the group’s preference was 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,” it continued.
Philip Loney, managing director, General Insurance, said: “We are bringing together these essential support functions in order to help meet the needs of our customers and the general insurance division.
“We recognise that this is difficult news for our affected colleagues. We are committed to working through these changes with our colleagues carefully and sensitively and will seek to use natural turnover and redeployment wherever possible.”
Lloyds had provided some respite to the finance sector last week when it announced plans to axe 900 jobs by shutting down Cheltenham & Gloucester branches were being shelved.