Hundreds of jobs could be at risk in Sheffield after banking giant HSBC announced plans to cut 8,000 staff in the UK.
The bank is one of the city’s biggest employers, with more than 1,500 staff based in Sheffield.
Workers at the firm’s Griffin House, in the city centre, said they were alarmed by the news of the cuts, while leading city business figures urged the financial giant not to swing the axe in South Yorkshire.
Coun George Lindars-Hammond, Sheffield Council member for Hillsborough, said: “HSBC must employ thousands in Sheffield, so job losses are extremely worrying.
“On the basis these decisions usually fall on backroom staff, it must be a real concern for Sheffield.
“We need to talk to HSBC and see what we can do to persuade them of the importance of Sheffield.
“The most important thing is it’s a major employer in Sheffield and these are jobs for normal Sheffielders.
“It is a concern. HSBC is vital to the city.”
The changes are part of the firm’s plans to save up to £5 billion by 2017.
The bank has also stated it will create a ‘ring-fenced bank’ in Birmingham, prompting fears some Sheffield jobs could be relocated there.
HSBC’s investor statements suggest software development roles and service staff could be at risk – sparking fears IT staff at Griffin House could be at risk.
The bank has also revealed it will close 12 per cent of branches in the bank’s top seven countries, which includes the UK.
HSBC branches in Sheffield include the city centre, Darnall and Meadowhall shopping centre.
One Sheffield HSBC staff member, who declined to be named said: “I have worked for HSBC since 1988, when it was Midland Bank.
“We haven’t been told anything yet. It is alarming. We are keeping an eye on our intranet.
“Because retail bank sector jobs are ring-fenced in Birmingham, there is a possibility some people may have to move there. It would be a shame for Sheffield if jobs were lost here.”
HSBC said its plan included to ‘move operations roles to low cost/high quality locations’ and ‘to move software development roles to low cost/high quality locations’.
Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce director, said: “Midland Bank had its headquarters in Sheffield before it was taken over by HSBC, so a lot of backroom staff and online operations are in Sheffield.
“It’s bad news for the UK, and not great news for Sheffield. It’s not something I would have wanted to see.”
HSBC has agreed to meet trade union Unite to discuss its plans in detail.
Dominic Hook, of Unite, said: “This latest wave of job losses is a stab in the back to a dedicated workforce who have put HSBC back on the road to recovery since 2008.
“Unite will consult with our members in HSBC, we will fight for them and we will support them.”
Stuart Gulliver, HSBC group chief executive , said: “We recognise the world has changed and we need to change with it. That is why we are outlining these strategic actions that will further transform our organisations.”