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1000 UK banking jobs set for Indian shores

Unions are outraged at Lloyds TSB and Barclays reportedly moving 1000 jobs, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2003 12:39 IST

Panic rather than anger is the reaction to the report that over 1000 banking jobs are set to move to India. Llyods TSB said it planned to close its Newcastle call centre and Barclays confirmed a review of its Hastings factoring operation.

The moves by the two banks have provoked outrage from finance unions, which threatened a wave of protests. Llyods employ over 900 people at Newcastle centre, which it said, would close at the end of 2004.

It confirmed its plans for big expansion of its Indian operations with the aim of employing 1500 people by the end of the next years, compared with 250 presently.

Barclays too affirmed the beginning of a review of its Hastings centre which employs 350 people. It has, as yet not made any firm decision but admitted outsourcing to India was an option.

These moves by the two banks follow HSBC's decision to transfer 4000 British call centres and back-office jobs to India. The decision will lead to the closure of five processing centres.

Llyods has said that staff in India would be paid "competitive" wages, after unions claimed they could receive salaries of less than a sixth of their UK counterparts. A Bank spokesman said: "We operate in a fiercely competitive environment and it is vital that we find ways of running our business effectively and competitively."

But unions are grumbling. One big union Unifi commented the move was " profit without conscience". One of its officers said the Llyods move was callous and it was jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon accelerated by HSBC. " It (Llyods) has no respect for staff, customers or local communities."

Reports are that the bank could face industrial action. An officer of the Llyods TSB Group union condemned the decision and said: "We don't think it is right that income earned from customer accounts in the UK should be filtered abroad." The union proposes to mobilise public opinion against the move. It aims to collect 500,000 signatures opposing the move to India.

First Published: Oct 31, 2003 17:41 IST