Restructuring and redundancies
As many as 40,000 bank workers could lose their jobs when the planned takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland by rival Lloyds TSB goes ahead, it has been speculated.
The £12 billion acquisition will create a new banking giant with nearly a third of the UK mortgage market, more than £300 billion of deposits and around 3,000 branches - making it far and away Britain's biggest bank.
But the takeover agreement talks of "significant cost savings" made by "combining the networks and back offices of Lloyds TSB and HBOS".
It says the takeover would result in "cost synergies" of £1 billion by 2011, or around 10% of the combined cost base.
And the agreement adds that there will be "elimination of branch duplication" in the retail arm, and "consolidation of head office functions", including human resources, finance and legal departments.
HBOS employs 75,000 people and has 1,100 branches in the UK. Lloyds TSB has around 70,000 staff, with 1,900 branches.
The proposed boss of the new outfit, current Lloyds TSB chief executive Eric Daniels, said of the 40,000 figure: "Undoubtedly there will be some job losses. But I don't recognise that, it seems on the high side."
Unite deputy general secretary Graham Goddard said: "Finance workers should not have to pay the price for the greed and excess of the short sellers and speculators. Thousands depend on HBOS and Lloyds TSB for their livelihoods. Unite will oppose compulsory redundancies."
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James Wright from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "After any merger a business will usually find synergies and consider restructuring and redundancies. Employers need to be aware of the potentially significant liabilities that can arise in the event a lawful process is not followed in effecting such dismissals."