HSBC axes 4,000 UK jobs

17 October 2003
HSBC, the world's second biggest bank, is to cut 4,000 jobs in Britain over the next three years.

HSBC service centre operations in Birmingham, Brentwood, Sheffield and Swansea will be closed by the end of 2005 in line with "global resourcing" plans.

From next January, global resourcing will lead to processing and call centre jobs being gradually transferred to centres in India, Malaysia and China, where labour costs are cheaper.

Compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out but would be kept to a minimum, the firm said.

The announcement comes three months after HSBC said it would axe 1,400 UK jobs.

HSBC chief executive Bill Dalton said: "This is the best, indeed the only way, of ensuring job security for our staff worldwide.

"As one of the world's largest financial services companies HSBC has a responsibility to all its stakeholders to remain efficient and competitive."

The high street bank's decision reflects the growing trend of large firms to switch operations overseas. BT, Goldman Sachs, Abbey National and Prudential have already announced outsourcing plans.

Financial union, UNIFI, in a statement, said it was "furious at the scale and pace" of the cost cutting move.

UNIFI, general secretary, Rob O'Neill said: "These plans will have a devastating effect on the local staff and economy in Swansea.

"The gloves are off. Unifi has managed so far to ensure there have been no compulsory sackings but the "world's local bank" has shown that if the job can be done cheaper somewhere else then they will move it. It is profit before people."

Mr O'Neill vowed to fight the move "tooth and nail."