HSBC hands £1,500 to half of staff, but warns of downsizing

HSBC will make a one-off payment of £1,500 to around half of its UK staff to support them through the cost of living crisis, but bosses have warned against further staff cuts.

The banking giant said the increased cash will go to more junior staff, including customer-facing employees at branches and contact centers in the UK.

It will reach the pockets of around 48% of UK-based employees, or around 17,000 people.

The impact of rising inflation and soaring energy prices means some workers will need more support to avoid financial hardship in the months ahead, HSBC said.

The one-time payments follow the bank’s discussions with the Unite union and will arrive in August along with the paychecks.

Dominic Hook, Unite Country Manager, said: “Unite has worked tirelessly to demonstrate to HSBC the need for urgent action to help thousands of employees facing the greatest pressure on their incomes.

“The union will continue to campaign for all staff to receive a fully consolidated pay rise to ensure pay rates keep pace with the cost of living.”

But HSBC bosses have said a reduction in its workforce will be “inevitable over time” as it closes branches and moves to more digital and automated banking services.

The bank said it aims to reduce the number of workers by not replacing some staff when they leave, with typically between 20,000 and 25,000 resigning each year to change jobs, according to chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson .

These cuts in natural staff turnover could be managed effectively to minimize the need to restructure or lay off, he said.

HSBC – which has more than 218,000 employees worldwide – had announced plans in 2020 to cut 35,000 jobs globally as part of annual cost reduction targets of US$5.5 billion ($4 billion). pound sterling).

It also announced it would close 69 more branches in March, adding to the 82 closings planned in January last year.

HSBC is among several banks that have pledged cash support to staff after campaigns by Unite.

Around 95 per cent of Co-operative Bank workers will receive a £1,000 raise in September, with only those on the highest salaries being excluded.

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

HSBC added that it would take into account the longer-term impact of inflation and the rising cost of living for all of its staff when making annual salary reviews, beyond the payment of august.

Michael A. Bynum