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UK – Lloyds under fire for job cuts and hiring agency workers

14 March 2013

After Lloyds Banking Group announced a further 550 job cuts on Wednesday, the firm came under attack by union leaders which accused the bank of casualising its workforce. The Unite union criticised the financial institute for sacking hundreds of permanent staff while increasing the number of agency workers.

Lloyds earlier this year announced that they would be axing 1,340 jobs. Unite claimed the group is continuing to take on more agency workers to plug the resourcing gap and that there are currently around 4,000 agency workers at the bank. However, taking the recent job losses into account this number of agency workers would only equate to 4% of Lloyds’ total workforce (approximately 94,000).

This relatively modest use of agency workers did little to satisfy the union however. “Lloyds cannot continue to cut now then ask questions later,” said Unite national officer, Dominic Hook. “It's madness that the bank has so many agency workers when it's cutting so many permanent jobs.”

According to the union, the bank has made 31,000 job cuts since 2009. Mr Hook said, “Lloyds is looking for a period of stability and growth but it won't be achieved by continuous and damaging job cuts. The bank must put an end to mass redundancies and instead foster job security, pay workers fairly and concentrate on customer service.”

Lloyds said that the 550 job cuts would affect its risk, insurance, commercial banking, retail, wealth, asset finance and international divisions. In a statement it said that the workers had been informed about the redundancies on Wednesday.

“The group’s policy is always to use natural turnover and redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group,” said Lloyds. “Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary redundancy – compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort.”

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