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HSBC branded "a disgrace" as it axes 500 UK jobs

02 December 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Another 2,000 jobs will bite the dust after announcements from two major banks and several other companies that they will be making more cut backs in the form of redundancies.

In light of continuing economic turmoil, banking group HSBC has announced that a further 500 jobs will be cut across the UK after it already cut more than 1,000 staff back in September.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of trade union Unite, has accused HSBC of "using the economic downturn as an excuse to make job losses." adding that "The bank has again this year reported an increase in half yearly profits and continues to do very well."

The bank's decision to cut more jobs is a "disgrace" he said, adding that he is "appalled" that the news has come so close to Christmas, and Unite "sees no business rationale for these job losses."

HSBC has defended the move, stating that the cuts only account for less than one per cent of its 58,000-strong workforce in the UK, and the board "deeply regret" the job losses, said HSBC UK managing director Paul Thurston, "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." the BBC reported.

Earlier this month, HSBC revealed that in addition to second quarter losses of $3.6billion from the sub prime mortgage market in America, writedowns between July and September reached $4.3billion (£2.7billion).

In its 2008 interim report, however, the banking group's total assets at June 30 2008 were $2,547billion, an increase of $192billion, or eight per cent, since December 31 2007. At the time of the report, the group's chairman, Stephen Green, said that "HSBC's commitment to maintaining its financial strength is unwavering." and that it "remains both strongly capitalised and liquid."

Swiss bank Credit Suisse has also announced that it will be cutting 650 British jobs, about 10 per cent of its UK workforce, after writedowns led to two quarters of losses this year.

Other banks such as Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup, Bradford and Bingley and the Co-operative Group have all cut thousands of their workers in the UK.

Aston Martin, the luxury car manufacturer, has said it will cut 600 jobs as a result of a dip in sales due to the downturn in the global economy, while car accessory retailer Halfords has announced that is plans to axe about 250 jobs for similar reasons.

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