Barclays are truly the obfuscating spin-meisters. My personal fav remains the time they announced 2,100 redundancies in one area one day and 2,100 elsewhere shortly afterwards, the point being to generate headlines about 2,100 rather than 4,200 job cuts. And so it was today when you google the latest Barclays job announcement you get the BBC quoting 14,000 (later revised to 19,000), the Telegraph at 7,000 and the Guardian at 19,000. Job done. Then you had the BBC interview with the Barclays CEO himself where he said they’d no “set targets for branch closures”, which is most likely true to an extent i.e. they’re probably still debating how many to close, but you can bet – given the actual strategy document says “We believe that cost is the strategic battleground for our industry” - that plenty will be closing.
Aside from this being another example of supreme corporate bullshittery/media ineptitude, its interesting how little it appears to matter. The Barclays strategy of closing/selling/running down its European retail bank operations is not a good thing for the UK’s balance of trade. The actual job losses are pretty huge and follow on from the tens of thousands of job losses already seen across banking as a whole, the vast majority of which have not involved casino bankers on 7 figure bonuses. But hey ho, it’s a measure of how loathed banking is that this other kind of stuff just doesn’t seem to matter – a CEO gets multi million pound bonuses and pay offs for signing off on and leading a disasterous strategy? Well lets make 10,000 branch tellers redundant then, that’ll teach ‘em.