LONDON, Nov 29 — Barclays is to cut 900 jobs in its UK business, trade union Unite said yesterday, branding the bank’s move as “disgraceful” in the run-up to Christmas.

The union said the cuts are mostly in back-office jobs such as compliance, finance, legal, policy, IT and risk.

Barclays said it was restructuring “to simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns,” but would not confirm numbers.

“This includes changes to our headcount as management layers are reduced and the group improves its technology and automation capabilities,” a spokesperson said.

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“We are committed to supporting impacted colleagues through these changes.”

The move comes as British banks, including Barclays, close high-street branches as more customers move online and payments go increasingly cashless.

Consumer groups have warned that the closures hit those who predominantly still use cash, particularly the elderly.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Barclays is disgracefully cutting jobs to further boost its massive profits.”

“This is a mega-rich bank that is already on course to make eye-watering profits this year.”

Barclays flagged last month that more cutbacks were on the cards, as it unveiled a 16-per cent drop in net profit for the third quarter.

Profit after tax slid to £1.3 billion (US$1.65 billion or RM7.7 billion) from June to September, down from £1.5 billion in the same period the previous year.

Pretax profit dipped four per cent to £1.9 billion but revenues climbed five per cent to £6.3 billion on higher interest rates. — AFP