Staff at a The Co-operative Bank’s Staffordshire office face an uncertain future after the finance giant announced plans to axe 350 jobs.
The company – which employs 275 staff at its office off Cheddleton Road, in Leek – wants to cut its workforce and close 18 branches across the UK.
The decision is being blamed on ‘the impact of recent events’ and historically low interest rates.
The majority of the job losses will affect middle management positions and head office roles, but the Co-op said that it is unable to confirm what the impact will be on colleagues based at specific locations – including Leek where the many of the staff work in mortgage and customer-service related roles.
It added that it will look to redeploy colleagues into alternative posts where possible.
A consultation with affected staff has now begun.
Co-operative Bank chief executive Andrew Bester said: ” Our people have shown great dedication and commitment to our customers over the past few months, so we are very sorry to announce this news.
“Unfortunately, we’re not immune to the impact of recent events, with the historically low base rate affecting the income of all banks and a period of prolonged economic uncertainty ahead, which means it’s important we reduce costs and have the right-sized operating model in place for the future.
“At the same time, we are responding to the continuing shift of more and more customers choosing to bank online, with lower levels of transactions in branches, a trend which has been increasing for some time, across the banking sector and more broadly.
“The bank is in a resilient position given the significant progress we’ve made in recent years, and our focus is on maintaining this as we continue to support our customers through the crisis. We will do all we can to support colleagues through the process with fairness and respect.”
The planned branch closures are expected to be completed by December 1. They include branches in Ashton, Bradford, Cambridge, Chatham, Chester, Chichester, City of London, Dartford, Halesowen, Harrogate and Luton as well as Oxford, Rotherham, Solihull, Truro, Wakefield, Walsall and York.
The sites have been selected following careful analysis of individual footfall in 2019.
Union bosses have described the decision by The Co-operative Bank as ‘deeply disappointing.’
Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “Job losses are always unwelcome, however given the repeated restructuring exercises that this workforce has been through over the past 10 years the news today will be particularly painful.
“During these extremely testing economic times Unite wants all employers to work with the trade union to avoid job losses and protect the livelihoods of our members.
“Unite will continue to press The Co-operative Bank to put strategies in place to secure as many jobs as possible and avoid compulsory redundancies.”