100 HSBC staff fired as part of bigger cull

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2012, 12:00am


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About 100 HSBC workers were fired yesterday in what is believed to be the latest round of sackings that could see up to 3,000 jobs disappear.

Many were from the information technology and private banking units and included staff at the managerial and frontline levels.

Unionists accused the bank of a lack of social responsibility and urged HSBC staff not to work more than one hour of overtime a day to express their discontent.

The Hong Kong Banking Employees' Association, one of the major unions for local bank staff, said members working at HSBC reported that some of their colleagues had received employment termination letters yesterday.

'At the information technology unit, more than 10 people were fired, roughly 10 per cent of the workers there. The main reason given was that they had not performed satisfactory in the past year,' association deputy chief executive Tam Kin-sun said.

'We were told that some senior people, like expat staff, also got letters. Some have been paid up to six months' pay as compensation.'

HSBC last night denied there had been any mass layoffs. 'The rumours about mass sacking are inaccurate and purely speculative. People join and leave the company every day. But I can't comment on what the circumstances are.'

Hong Kong and Kowloon Trades Union Council chairman Lee Kwok-keung also said he had learned that most of those fired yesterday worked in the Taikoo branch and the Central headquarters.

'We fear it is only the beginning. It is a common tactic for big companies to sack people in small groups separately in order to avoid public attention,' Lee said.

Earlier reports said the bank would cut up to 1,000 employees after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Last July, HSBC said as many as 30,000 jobs would be cut across the banking group over three years.

In Hong Kong, the bank had plans to axe 3,000 jobs - about 10 per cent of the local workforce - with information technology and back-office positions being hit the hardest. There were reports that about 400 had already been sacked.