Lloyds TSB in jobs massacre
WORKERS, FEBRUARY 2009 ISSUE
A forecast of 40,000 job losses arising from the takeover by Lloyds TSB of Halifax Bank Of Scotland banking services: that’s what is now emerging as the real nature of the “lifeline” thrown to HBOS. A fifth of the branches of the merged bank – more than 600 – are expected to close.
Whether the 300-year-old Halifax element of HBOS will survive as a regional centre employing over 6,500 staff is now up in the air. For Lloyds TSB to maintain the support of its ever-greedy shareholders, the bank must (it says) reduce annual costs by £1.5-2 billion per annum. This can only be done by sacrificing people and jobs.
Lloyds TSB has already disposed of its Australian business and is looking to sell its Irish bank. In the great depression of the 1930s the number of banks in the USA dropped from 25,000 to 10,000 between 1929 and 1933. Some 12,000 of these closures occurred in a 10-day period. Lloyds TSB, Barclays, HBSC etc: watch this space!
The reconfiguration of banking has to be seen in context: the big four British banks look more likely to become two. This reconfiguration is being underwritten by the government, but as state capitalist monopoly working in no one’s interest bar those of capitalist institutions.
But that is the history of all nationalisations in Britain – steel, rail, coal, energy, and so on – all came into being when capitalism in extremis and usually war could not leave them to survive just by market forces alone.