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back to article Barclays axes 422 UK IT staff

Barclays is cutting back its UK IT workforce by axing 422 jobs - mainly at Radbroke Hall in Knutsford, northwest England. The bank euphemistically said that the lay-offs are part of "essential changes to technology and infrastructure". A well-placed source told The Reg that affected staff should expect more details on Monday. …

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like...

... their one remaining Tech Support guy in an Indian Call Centre will be putting in a lot of overtime in the near future.

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Anonymous Coward

I wouldn't worry.

Once the shit hits the fan they'll be paying a fortune for contractors like it'd fear you.

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Anonymous Coward

And then employing

Outside contracts to take their place, did someone mention India?

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Singapore and Estonia rather than India. Both bloody awful, overly scripted service andzero understanding of the systems they are servicing.

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Linux

No - the 422 were the idiots that couldn't re-train on proper Operating Systems now that Barclays have dropped Windoze - the MCSEs are useless to them!

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thumbs down?

Guessing you've not been an end user at Barclays in the last 5 years. The pain of dealing with these centres while working in the office in Poole that used to house the IT support team..... not good.

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Anonymous Coward

@CrossChris

CrossChris said: "...The 422 were the idiots that couldn't re-train on proper Operating Systems now that Barclays have dropped Windoze"

Not quite Sir!

I am pretty sure they were not all Windows users. I believe some of that number were self-righteous, arrogant, vainglorious Linux users.

No doubt some smug git more closely attuned to a 'One True Unix' ecosystem than Linux can ever be will be along to scoff at those with such a superior position. Oh, my bad - they just did.

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Anonymous Coward

I need to come up with a good idea, so I'm going to hack one of my feet off!

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That's Marketing 101

Replace the people who actually know what they are doing with ones that only claim they know what they are doing and are willing to work at a lower pay scale.

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Unhappy

Unite

More thunder again, but at the end of the day, still helpless.

They're more like lobby groups, rather than anything with real bite these days. While I'm not advocating a return to the strikes that killed our car industry, I do wish the Unions had more finely-tuned methods to use that range somewhere between "persuasion" and "strike".

I like how losing 422 creates 40 new ones, or creates innovation. Lets remove 422 cores from this super computer, and lets see if it can do cleverer chess moves. Classic non-real-world thinking of the bean counters and suits.

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FAIL

Thunder is all they are capable of.

I used to be a Unite member but became disillusioned with the so-called leaders. I met a couple of them and talking to them was like communicating with North Korean thought-police. The last straw was the election of the current leader who, from a brief conversation I had with him, appears to have the intellectual capacity of a rather backward slug. Why did he have to get elected when there were other much more worthy candidates :-(

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Anonymous Coward

re: Unite

I'm 38, I've been a union member since I was 16. Unite totally destroyed my faith in unions, they are utterly incompetent, they sat by while IT staff at RBS were having their pensions taken away, being sacked for preference of Indian offshore workers and did nothing. Nothing that is, except utterly screw up a ballot to see if there was an appetite to be balloted for industrial action. When I say screw up - 98% voted in favour of action up to and including strike, but they still told us that there wasn't a mandate for industrial action because they forgot to tell the people in the new pension scheme (the not quite as good one) that they needed to vote too.

While this was happening they were sending us cheery emails about how much good work they were doing for the BA cabin staff.

They were bloody useless, keen for causes which would win popular support with the public, but anything tricky - like supporting unpopular workers in banks and they didn't want to know.

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Anonymous Coward

UNITE not uniformly useless

This must be a bit variable by company then.

If it wasn't for support from UNITE, employees at Goodrich (for example) would no longer have any kind of final salary pension scheme.

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FAIL

British management

Strikes didn't kill the car industry. British management killed the car industry, it killed everything even the world economy. Can't you even read the story you are commenting on?

I worked at the Knuthouse once. Youhave toi use their cash card to buy anything in their canteens. At the end of the week you should be able to claim your remaining credit back on the card issued. It was always empty on Friday.

In the bank headquarters that is some 64 acres of Bank.

If they couldn't run that they can't possibly run anything larger or remotely complex. And we have a world national debt to prove it.

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"so that we can innovate in new technologies and services for our customers, and be as effective and efficient as possible"

Wow, I haven't heard that used as a definition for "we're shipping jobs to India" before...

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FAIL

Just once I'd like to see a company be honest about the reasons for job losses.

"We've only made 2% more profit this year and said to our shareholders it would be 3%, so in order not to disappoint them next year we figured we could make up that one percent more profit by shipping these roles off elsewhere in the world.

This is clearly worth the massive stressful impact to our soon-to-be-former staff and their families. Now excuse me, I'm off to the golf course in my private chauffered car"

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Trollface

Odd that

I have yet to hear of a company outsourcing its CEO and board of directors to a country where the salaries are much less. You could probably save 100's of millions in many cases.

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Comment of the week...

nm

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Anonymous Coward

What do these non-value-added senior managers do anyway?

They read Powerpoints.

They look at spreadsheets.

They make arbitrary decisions based on factors not known or identified.

They appoint cronies (and when the managers move, the cronies follow along in due course).

All of these things could be done just as successfully overseas and it would cost a great deal less.

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Senior Managers

Don't forget....

Get schmoozed by salesmen

Play plenty of golf, all good networking happens on the course.

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Re: Odd that

Best post I've read in a long time.

Get these b**tard CEOs out of their thrones.

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Mushroom

And lo the wrath of the BOFHs and PFYs was unleashed

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Anonymous Coward

Not nice. Having gone through redundancy proceedings myself recently in a large company that is *not* on the bones of it's arse (Lucky enough to find a new job though) I sympathise with the staff that are losing their jobs here and hope it leads onto better things for them in the long run.

In the mean time, I am supportive of the union. Whatever you think of the way they organize or how influential/relevant they are, the advice and support they gave to me in the last two months has been invaluable.

In general I am getting sick of businesses that are making profits and paying their management obscene amounts of money treating their staff like disposable crap. I can't think of anyone I know who is happy and/or secure with their employers at the moment.

To summarize, I'm not against making profit, I understand that businesses that are struggling have to take drastic actions sometimes, but I believe some of the larger, successful businesses are getting away with far more than they should in their pursuit for more and more profit, and even if you don't think that is wrong in itself (as one manager said to us "It's not personal, it's just business") who exactly is going to buy their products and services when we are all unemployed?

End of rant.

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Anonymous Coward

Business Efficiency

The people that make these decisions don't see IT staff as real people any more, IT staff are just "Full Time Equivalents", entries on some spreadsheet, an expensive commodity they seem to think they can do with less of, whilst sending them more and more work at the same time, or offshoring the work because they think its cheaper. Then the poor souls that are left are expected to do more hours for the same pay and just be thankful they're still in a job.

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Silver badge

Waiting to see how long before El Reg reports that there was a massive security breach in Barclays' systems because somebody in Accounting thought those IT guys were just sitting around collecting money for doing nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

I wouldn't have thought so

It happened to me at RBS and the staff, while pissed off, were professional enough to not sabotage systems and to keep on working until their leaving date. You don't want a criminal record just for the sake of a little petty revenge.

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I assumed Darryl was thinking more along the lines of overstretched staff not being able to cover the workload required to properly maintain the system, rather than sabotage.

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Yep, exactly, Gio

Not talking about sabotage, just overworked remaining staff

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Anonymous Coward

@Darryl

Oh, sorry, I didn't read it like that... In that case, yep uptime seems to have taken a bit of a dive at RBS recently, but that could just be one of those things, if there are more outages it's because one of the problems with offering voluntary redundancy is that your long serving, most experienced staff take it.

Consequently, I now have no debts (other than the house) and a nice little nest egg in the bank and I'm doing a much more fun job, where people don't think that they can just abuse you because of the company you work for. Hurrah!

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@AC 2012 21:17 GMT. "......one of the problems with offering voluntary redundancy....

...........is that your long serving, most experienced staff take it."

Spot on AC, that is indeed very often the result. At my good lady's place of work they initiated that type of process about three to four month ago thinking that they could control that problem by choosing who got the chop/redundancy package. However, as is so often the case, they not only refused to negotiate over the changes in any meaningful sense they refused to give any guarantees about when the process would be completed. The result? They are not only losing the people that they believed that they no longer had a need for, they are bleeding all their best talent because the entire workforce is so demoralised and insecure that all the real talent are looking for other jobs or have now left having got one. Result, hmm? I can just about tolerate the fact that the "managerati" are greedy bar-stewards, what is however utterly puke-making is how many of them are stupid greedy bar-stewards. Oh, and if anyone objects to my describing our "captains of industry" in such terms I can only ask, how often have we seen this happen? Time and time again.

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Anonymous Coward

Whereas at a certain giant insurance company...

People were professional enough to keep things going until they left, but pissed off enough not to pass on what they knew to anyone else. There's more than one way to say "fuck you very much", and It was telling that some of them had to be offered roles again almost immediately.

Of course, I'm sure Barclays will have a rigorous succession plan in place to make sure they don't get rid of the only guy who knows WeakestLink85. He'll be the guy with a beard and a personal hygiene exclusion zone - prime "doesn't play the game" redundancy-fodder, but the only person alive who knows how that funny K and Delphi stuff fit together.

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Devil

RE: Artic Fox

"...............is that your long serving, most experienced staff take it."

Actually, it can be even more fun than that! Blackmailing a boss into getting my name on the approved list for a redundancy offer set me out on contracting many years ago, and I've been contracting inside several companies that have gone through "downsizing exercises" and seen what often happens in redundancy situations.

The board thinks this is a mechanism to reduce cost, and seriously seem to believe it will somehow weed out the unproductive staff. In reality, it does anything but. The poor workers are the ones with the most to lose by leaving, they stand the least chance of getting a new job, whereas your top performers probably could walk into another job the next day. Getting rid of those poor performers means bending the rules. This is why you will often meet people in the industry with really impressive CVs and references that usually turn out to be morons - their previous managers gave them rosey reviews and refs as a bribe to get them out in a redundancy round the managers saw coming. Otherwise those poor performers keep their heads down and burrow in like ticks.

And smarter mid-level management are always looking for hints of head-freezes and the like to protect their little empires from downsizing, so they will carefully create extra headcount (positions they repeatedly advertise but manage to never fill) so that they can cut the vacant post and claim they have met their redundancy targets. They may fill them with poor performers that will be the first to get ditched in a real round of forced redundancies. If you see some complete idiots in your organistaion being promoted to posts which seem to have no real role, it is likely that your management are seeing a round of redundancies coming.

The flip side is that the smarter managers will also need to stop their top performers from grabbing the redundancy offer and causing the brain-drain of real knowledge. Any redundancy that has clauses like "not open to key workers" is meant to give management a means to block their top performers leaving. If you are one of those and want an out with benefits (voluntary redundancy packages are usually better than the usual redundancy pay here in the UK, where we don't have the same mechanism as the dreaded pink slips), now is the time to be holding a bit of blackmail material.

All of these games screw the headcount figures but does little to reduce the staff costs, so the board will eventually not realise their savings and move to proper forced redundancies. The really poor performers may finally get ditched in forced redundancies, but by then your top performers will have got frightened and will probably already have scarpered to another company.

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Anonymous Coward

Same at RBS happened

3 years ago RBS thought they were being clever by pooling people against each other to "compete" for positions. In reality [most of] the good people went "thanks but F.O." and got jobs elsewhere.

One situation was particularly priceless - They put 2 people into a pool for 1 job. On paper it was an open and shut case who /should/ get the the job and they'd been trying to get rid of the other guy for years without success. However the good guy strung them along for a while before saying "I'll take the VR". Much gnashing of teeth as they had to keep the useless one - It left the rest of us laughing heartily over the fuck-wittery of the management.

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Boffin

Optional

"The bank reckons the reorganisation could create 40 new positions."

The bank reckons the reorganisation could create -382 new positions.

There, fixed it for you.

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Anonymous Coward

I hate to say it

but this has always been on the cards since they shut down their other UK technology center in Poole five or six years ago.

It was obvious at that time that Barclays was looking to offshore their complete IT support organization.

What they said back then was that they were going for a 'follow-the-sun' support model, and that India was a good location.But they never put the support center in Mexico or Brazil that they would have needed for the third shift, they just made the Indian workers cover more hours.

Unfortunately, the innovative application deployment models they developed (silo-ing their applications on SAN disk that could be moved around well before the concept of cloud computing was ever mentioned) was done by the people they let go, and as far as I know, nothing comparable has been introduced since.

The whole share price/return model of corporate management is just so flawed that I am waiting for large companies to start failing, because they run out of clever people to do the things that allow the business to continue to work more efficiently. Getting rid of your innovators to save money looks like a particularly nasty type of self-cannibalization, eating yourself from within until there is nothing left.

I would say that the only people who benefit from this are the outsourcing organizations, but they are doing it as well if what is happening in IBM is anything to go by.

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Anonymous Coward

Barclays results in 2011:

Profit: £18million.

That's £18million A DAY, of course.

Bonuses of around £200K each on average to the top 200 (and quite a few getting £2M+) in Barclays Capital.

But that's in the City, not in Cheshire. The money to be saved has to be saved outside the City.

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Anonymous Coward

Saving Money?

""so that we can innovate in new technologies and services for our customers, and be as effective and efficient as possible".

I would love to have 10% of the £m's that I have saved companies by observing the people do the day job on the systems I have worked on, which included one major financial organisation, that was doing a part of some of it's specialist accounting in completely the wrong way, because they had not trained the staff properly.

Audit missed it, accountants missed it, IT department BA spots it.

This is stuff you only pick up by seeing people in action, and asking "why do you do it that way?", something the poor sod on the other end of the telephone a contienant can't do.

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FAIL

Risk Model

Does anybody think Barclays will be issuing a warning to shareholders that it is changing it's risk model?

Will it even update it's corporate risk register and audit controls?

NAH.

Lets assume India is where the work goes, nice people, lots of english speakers, shame it has serious political risks that could result in the "new innovation" site being a burning pile (terrorism), smouldering crater (war with pakistan), glowing hole (nuclear war with pakistan)

Then of course there's geographic hazards, such as flooding (see HDD companies for how that works)

The moral risk profile changes, how many UK IT staff would be willing to spend 5 years inside for £100k?, but how many indian's would happily disappear with £100k in their pocket and start a new life somewhere else in the very large country?

Other favorite OS countries;

Eygpt - nice safe environment (sic), it's not as if the failing government would cut the international lines to your vodaphone call centre

China, land of great opportunities, for all the bent government officials, plan on having all your data swiped either officially or un-officially.

Thailand, not as bent as China, but it is known to rain a bit from time to time

Etc., Etc.

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PdV

and this is the industry...

.. on which britain is counting for its future.

AC, because they are a customer.

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Facepalm

Innovation

Now defined as new ways of shooting yourself in the foot.

They must have been inspired by all the good publicity that Santander have had regarding their IT.

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FAIL

RE: Innovation

Quote: `Now defined as new ways of shooting yourself in the foot.`

Should read:

`Now defined as new ways of shooting yourself in the NUTS.`

There, fixed it for you!

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Anonymous Coward

Online Banking

I hope it includes the person who wrote their crappy online banking service.

Good luck to the rest.

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WTF?

They have that many IT staff left?!

Nuff said

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Anonymous Coward

Ah...

... another press release written by the same person that wrote the one from my cable company that said that a channel that had previously been free would now be optional and cost extra "to increase choice."

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Flame

This is what happens...

...when you employ beancounters as IT directors. Beleive me, I know.

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Meh

And who does Radbrooke hall support

from memory it's NOT BarCap... it's the retail and card businesses. therefore, not the BIG money-making side of the business.

Given that wealth and BarCap IT merged recently I reckon there's going to be more blood on the floor over the coming months.

Is it all outsourced to India? Probably not. There's always overlap so that one project can decimate a particular support team. It might also grow another team. There's also the possibility that they're just axing permies to bring in contingent staff instead. Looks better on the books right?

Just my £0.02

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Anonymous Coward

binky - actually theres an ongoing merger of the IT functions between barcap and RBB, and the redundancies are likely a result of this

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Bank of evil

Why is anyone surprised? Barclay's is truly hateful, even for a bank.

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You don't outsource the innovation "function"

If you move to a multi site/externally contracted model, I believe you lose the ability to innovate in that space. Not your dud patent filing numbers, but real tangible innovation. The stuff that actually makes you money long term. No one has a big enough view to make a real difference.

Unfortunately there are no HBR articles on this yet, and not yet in any MBA coursework. So stupid does what stupid is told. Besides it is sort of the CEO job description. We're all a little guilty of hiding behind a job description.

Doesnt make it right though. Retail and investing (BarCap) are *NOT* separate. Barclays business has *NOT* contracted. I've dumped my Barclays shares. This is bad karma in my world.

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