The jobs carnage sweeping British industry has continued with a fresh wave of cuts ending a week in which unions believe up to 20,000 posts may have been lost.
Unite said Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks were cutting 350 jobs, van-maker LDV announced plans to axe more than 90 production jobs, and the Royal Bank of Scotland is understood to be planning to cut 3,000 jobs from its global banking and markets workforce.
The announcements ended a grim week on the employment front, with a raft of UK companies including BT, JCB, truckmaker Leyland, Virgin Media, Yell and GlaxoSmithKline all shedding labour.
More job losses are predicted, with increasingly dire predictions about the jobless total. Business groups and analysts are constantly revising their expectations up, with some now believing unemployment will go over three million.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is in line for a £20 billion taxpayer handout to help shore up its finances, is understood to be cutting posts from its global banking and markets workforce over the coming weeks. A spokeswoman for RBS declined to comment in detail about the job cuts, but she said: "We constantly review our operating model to make sure that it is appropriate to the market condition, and take action accordingly."
Unite said its members at Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks felt "let down" by the move by owners the National Australia Group (NAG). The union said some of the jobs were being outsourced, although it had been assured there would be no compulsory redundancies.
National officer Mary Alexander said: "Outsourcing is a bitter pill to swallow. The industry is engulfed in crisis and staff across the financial services are worried about their jobs. NAG have committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies but our members feel very let down."
The banks said they had agreed a strategic alliance with AXA Life which would handle their 2.3 million retail customers from next year. The 129-strong team of financial planners based in Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks' 342 retail branches would transfer to AXA.
Birmingham-based LDV, which makes about 10,000 vehicles a year, said it intended to shed 95 full-time manufacturing posts due to falling demand for its vans, particularly in Russia and eastern Europe. A company spokesman said the cuts at its Washwood Heath plant, which employs about 1,000 workers, were being made as a direct consequence of a world-wide drop in sales of its Maxus model.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This has been the week when the credit crunch started to bite the real economy with job losses and redundancies coming thick and fast every day. The Government now needs to be as bold in tackling unemployment as it has been in preventing a financial meltdown."