The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Job switch to boost HSBC local payroll

London, Oct. 17 (PTI): HSBC, UK-based banking giant, has announced its decision to shift 4,000 jobs to India, China and Malaysia in the biggest single export of finance positions to Asia amid threats of legal action by its union.

The decision comes just months after the bank blamed rising national insurance costs and increasing government regulation for 1,400 jobs cuts at its head office.

HSBC, which has more than 45,000 staff in the UK and about 100,000 worldwide, said that the jobs in call centres and processing would be moved overseas in tranches over the next three years.

Bill Dalton, HSBC’s chief executive said the job cuts were “essential” for the bank’s continued success.

He said the decision reflected HSBC’s “responsibility to all its stakeholders to remain efficient and competitive”.

He said, “The creation of new jobs in developing countries such as India, China and Malaysia is a very positive contribution to their economies.”

Unifi, the financial workers’ unions, said it would fight the move “tooth and nail” and was considering industrial action.

The bank said 1,500 positions would move from Britain in 2004, another 2,000 in 2005 and 500 more in 2006.

Of the 4,000 jobs to be moved, 1,300 will go from HSBC’s processing centres in Birmingham, Swansea, Sheffield, Brentwood and Essex, which will close by the end of 2005.

About 1,400 jobs from HSBC’s call centres in Swansea, Leeds, Hemel Hempstead and Edinburgh will also be cut. The remaining positions to be switched will come from other back office operations.

HSBC spokesman Adrian Russell said the bank’s Asian processing and call-centre operations would employ 8,000 people by the end of this year.

“The company has three sites in India, two in China and one in Malaysia. But by the end of 2006, 87 per cent of the 55,000 jobs in HSBC’s British bank would still be based in Britain,” he said.

HSBC’s move is the latest in a rush by British financial services companies to outsource work to Asian economies, particularly India, to save costs.

HSBC said it had already “globalised” 3,000 British jobs in past years.

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