The sacking of Barclays chief executive officer Antony Jenkins must not herald a new round of cost cutting and job losses warned Unite, the trade union for UK bank workers. Today’s announcement, timed to coincide with the first Conservative budget for 19 years, appears to be the action of a boardroom seeking to maximise short term profits and headlines at the cost of the bank’s long term future.
Barclays’ chairman John McFarlane has taken over the duties of the chief executive following reports that the boardroom is frustrated with the pace of the bank’s cost cutting programme. McFarlane has indicated that the bank will be actively looking at accelerating the bank's branch closure programme.
Today’s sudden change in leadership will be a huge shock to Barclays staff who have endured constant change in recent years and are weary of being constantly sized up for cuts.
Unite has requested a meeting with Mr McFarlane as soon as possible to understand more about his and the board's plans for the company. Unite will make clear its major concerns around the pain that further job cuts will cause members and, ultimately, Barclays’ customers.
Dominic Hook, Unite national officer for finance, said: “It is extremely concerning that Antony Jenkins has been removed for not carrying out cuts quickly enough. Since Jenkins became chief executive in 2012 thousands of jobs have been axed across the bank. Barclays’ UK business is highly profitable, yet it continues to face relentless cuts.
“Barclays’ chairman John McFarlane has a reputation for having made Aviva 'a leaner, more agile beast', by cutting huge numbers of jobs. When he assumed the role earlier this year McFarlane made it clear he intends to replicate this record at Barclays, an intention reinforced in today's announcement.
“We hope that this is not the action of a boardroom emboldened by the Conservative victory in May to maximise short term profits at any cost, to the detriment of staff, customers and the long term future of the bank.”
For more information please contact Ben Norman on 07525 590 075 or Ben.Norman@unitetheunion.org. Alternatively contact the Unite press team on 020 3371 2065
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.