LONDON (Reuters) - British bank TSB has told its cashiers their jobs will be phased out early next year after a steep decline in customers banking at its branches because of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff union TBU told Reuters on Monday.
Affected branch staff were told they would have to retrain, change roles or take voluntary redundancy, according to a staff memo.
A total of 929 staff are affected, a TSB spokesman confirmed, adding that employees were being given a choice as it phased out non-specialist roles.
Banks across the industry are looking to cut costs in the face of an expected spike in loan losses resulting from the pandemic.
TSB’s Spanish parent Sabadell said in July that it was looking at accelerating cost-cutting at the British business, after its subsidiary posted a 64 million euro (57.5 million pounds) loss for the first half of the year.
“TSB was already facing major cost problems and this looks like them jumping on the bandwagon, using the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of these roles,” said TBU General Secretary Mark Brown.
“They don’t know whether people will return to branches once this pandemic is over.”
In the staff memo, TSB encouraged affected employees to retrain for more complex roles involving helping customers to open accounts or to use digital services, adding that it expects fewer customers to use branches for basic transactions.
“The way customers use their banks is changing and COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the use of digital services,” TSB said in a statement.
“When customers visit our branches, their needs tend to be more complex and we need a fully multiskilled and flexible workforce to meet them. This is why we are offering some branch colleagues the opportunity to upskill to take on broader customer service roles or take voluntary redundancy.”
Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by David Goodman and Marguerita Choy
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