Axe falls on HSBC jobs

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Created: Oct 02, 2021 07:47 AM

Job losses: HSBC’s Hamilton headquarters (File photograph)

Bermuda’s biggest bank has made staff redundant – but refused to say how many.

The bank was tight-lipped on the details but it was suggested 21 jobs, and possibly more, could go.

An HSBC spokeswoman would not confirm the total number of jobs lost or which departments would be affected.

The bank also refused to discuss when the redundancies would take effect or if any of the roles would be moved overseas.

But Jarion Richardson, the shadow labour minister, said: “Some 15 years ago, Bank of Bermuda was the island’s largest employer.

“Now, it’s the Bermuda Government.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see something is wrong here, that this trend is impacting everyday Bermudians.”

An HSBC spokeswoman said: “At HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited, we continuously review the roles required to make the bank fit for the future and best serve our customers.

“In line with local employment practices, we will work closely with impacted employees who may seek further opportunities within the bank.”

The statement was similar to one made in August last year after news leaked out that 20 HSBC staff would be axed.

A spokeswoman said then: “Where applicable and in line with local employment practices, we always work closely with impacted employees, in the event of redundancies, who may seek further opportunities across other businesses and functions.”

The number of jobs in the banking sector has decreased since the turn of the century.

The People’s Campaign, a pressure group, blasted the banks at a rally in 2014 where they appealed to the Government to take action and give the Bermuda Monetary Authority more power.

The group also asked for more protection for Bermudians against being singled out for redundancies.

Jason Hayward, then president of the white collar Bermuda Public Services Union said at the time: “Since 2008, the commercial banks have collectively reduced employment levels by an estimated 500 jobs, with the majority of job losses being absorbed by Bermudians.

“We have noted during this recessionary period, the banks have continued with their systematic redundancy policies, especially the Bank of NT Butterfield and HSBC Bermuda.”

Automation has swept away many of traditional jobs in the sector, but banks have also had to recruit staff to reflect the move to a digital business model.

HSBC on a global basis has faced a double whammy of a drop in profits and billions of dollars in ancillary charges to pay for loan losses and the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the first half of the year results, announced in August, reflected an improved profit line.

The bank was last year accelerating plans to cut 35,000 jobs from its 235,000 strong workforce around the world.

HSBC also faces uncertainty because of a deterioration in the relationship between the US and China.

The bank has a traditional dependence on business in China and Hong Kong.

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