MORE job worries hit workers in Minehead yesterday as Spanish banking giant Santander announced it was axing 1,900 jobs across three of its British businesses - one of them being the Alliance and Leicester Bank.
Alliance and Leicester has for many years operated a branch in Minehead in a prime site location in The Parade.
It was unclear where the Santander job losses would be made, but it was believed the brunt was likely to fall on Alliance and Leicester employees and particularly those in the cities of London, Leicester, and Bradford.
The company refused to rule out the possibility of compulsory redundancies.
Unions described the news as ‘a bitter blow’ for staff before Christmas.
It follows a 50 per cent fall in Santander’s share price since June.
Santander aims to save £180 million by the end of 2011 while having ‘minimal impact’ on customer-facing roles in its branches.
It said the focus of the reductions was on back-office jobs and across operational and head office sites, although some smaller offices could be consolidated into larger sites.
Santander UK business chief executive António Horta Osório said yesterday: “Today’s announcement shows we are on track to fulfil the commitment we made at the time of the Alliance and Leicester acquisition to grow our UK business while ensuring we meet our cost-saving targets.
“Santander is committed to its branch network in the UK, reflecting its status as one of the world’s leading retail banks, with the largest international retail branch network in the world.
“The combined UK business now has nearly 1,300 branches, which we expect to maintain or slightly increase in the near term.”