Banking giant HSBC is axing around 500 UK jobs - including IT positions - following a review of the "current economic conditions" in a move branded a "disgrace" by finance sector union Unite.
The bank says the roles range from managerial positions, through to information technology, support services, administration, and sales and service staff. However, no retail customers facing positions in branches or call centres will go. The cuts represent less than one per cent of HSBC's 58,000 UK staff.
Paul Thurston, managing director, HSBC UK, says: "In the past two months we have looked hard at our business, focussing on removing duplication, managing costs and devoting resources to areas that offer the most potential for growth."
"We deeply regret taking this step, but we consider it essential to ensure our business is operating as efficiently as possible and that we are best placed to deal with the economic downturn and maintain our levels of customer service," he adds.
But Unite says it believes HSBC is "using the economic downturn as an excuse to make cuts".
Derek Simpson, joint general secretary, Unite, says: "The decision by HSBC to make 500 job cuts is a disgrace. Unite is appalled that this news has been delivered so close to Christmas. The union has seen no business rationale for these job losses."
Simpson says Unite has put forward alternative proposals to the bank, including a voluntary redundancy register, but these have been rejected. The union says it is opposed to any compulsory redundancies.
In September HSBC, said tough economic conditions would lead to 1100 jobs being cut at its global banking and market division, with 500 jobs going in the UK, mainly at Canary Wharf.