HSBC hands UK workers a living allowance but warns of downsizing


HSBC will give around half of its UK staff a one-off payment of £1,500 (€1,792) to support them during the cost of living crisis, but bosses have warned of further cuts to the workforce.

The banking giant said the cash boost will go to more junior staff, including frontline workers in UK branches and contact centres.

It will reach the pockets of about 48 per cent of UK-based staff, which translates to about 17,000 people.

The impact of rising inflation and rising energy costs mean some workers will need more support to avoid financial difficulties in the coming months, HSBC said.

The one-off payments follow the bank’s talks with the Unite union and will come in the form of paychecks in August.

Dominic Hook, Unite’s National Officer, said: “Unite has worked tirelessly to demonstrate to HSBC the need for urgent action to help thousands of employees who are facing the worst of their income hardship.

“The union will continue to work to ensure that all employees receive a fully consolidated pay rise to ensure wage rates keep pace with the cost of living.”

But HSBC bosses said downsizing will be “inevitable over time” as branches close and shift to more digital and automated banking services.

The bank said it aims to reduce the workforce by not replacing some employees when they leave, with between 20,000 and 25,000 quitting to change jobs each year, according to CFO Ewen Stevenson.

These cuts from natural staff turnover could be effectively managed to minimize the need for restructuring or layoffs, he said.

HSBC – which employs more than 218,000 people worldwide – had said it would cut 35,000 jobs worldwide in 2020 in a bid to reduce annual costs by $5.5 billion (€5.4 billion).

It also said it would close an additional 69 stores in March, in addition to the 82 closures planned in January last year.

HSBC is among several banks that have pledged cash assistance to employees following campaigns led by Unite.

Around 95 per cent of Co-operative Bank staff will receive a £1,000 (€1,195) raise in September, excluding only those on the highest salaries.

TSB, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays have all recently announced one-off payouts to help staff struggling in the tougher economic climate.

HSBC added that it will factor in the longer-term effects of inflation and the higher cost of living for all of its employees in annual salary reviews beyond the August payout. HSBC hands UK workers a living allowance but warns of downsizing

Fry Electronics Team

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