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Barclays to scrap 1,800 UK tech jobs

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Barclays is to axe 1,800 IT jobs in the UK as part of a major business overhaul to set up technology centres in key offshore locations around the world, with 700 workers being forced out by September.

The bank first told staff about its outsourcing plans in January this year. In a canned statement Barclays said it hoped to “become one of a handful of universal banks leading the global financial services industry, helping our customers and clients throughout the world to achieve their goals.

“To achieve our ambition, we need to transform to a global organisation, able to serve the needs of our customers and clients who have operations around the world.”

Barclays added that it will create "centrally-managed technologies centres of excellence" [sic] in Europe, Africa and Asia. Offshore locations understood to have already been pinpointed by the company include Hungary, India and Singapore.

The firm admitted that “some roles will move offshore” and that “some roles will fall away”. However, it declined to offer a definitive number.

Trade union Unite, formerly known as Amicus, reckoned that up to 1,800 permanent and contractor tech jobs at the bank in the UK will be scrapped by 2011. Barclays will axe global infrastructure and service delivery (GISD) jobs.

Most Blighty-based staff will be redeployed or offered voluntary redundancy. Around 50 employees out of the 700 initially affected face compulsory redundancy by September this year, said Unite. It added that future growth at Barclays could prevent further losses at the firm.

About 1,000 GISD jobs will remain in the UK, based in the company’s Radbroke and London offices. Barclays plans to create around 1,700 new roles offshore over the next three years.

Unite national secretary Keith Brookes said in an internal Barclays newsletter (dated 23 April and seen by The Register) that the union has been pushing for the bank to stick by a globalisation deal inked with Unite. Under that agreement staff should be given three months' working notice, plus three months' paid notice of redundancy.

Brookes added that an undertaking had also been agreed with Barclays that "there will be no more job losses this year outside of offshoring".

In May this year Barclays Capital, the investment division of the bank, told its IT contractors to choose between a 10 per cent pay cut or a quick exit from the company.

The decision, which was seen as an alternative to cutting jobs as the bank negotiates the current financial crisis, sparked outrage among contract staff, who were forced to signal their "acceptance" of the wage cut. ®

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