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>> Europe's largest bank, HSBC, has begun slashing one-fifth of its workforce. The first to go are British workers, nearly 850 of them. A total of 8,000 redundancies will be made in the UK.. The bank says it's just part of a restructuring plan but Reuters UK banking correspondent Lawrence White says times are tough in the banking sector.
>> It's obviously a sign that the banking industry is under extreme pressure to cut costs with the global trading environment very difficult, as we saw on HSBC's tough set of first quarter results. The industry's not growing revenues any time soon. The only thing you can really do to improve returns for shareholders is to cut costs and that's really what we're seeing today.
>> Most staff affected by the cuts were told on Monday, the majority are IT roles. The bank unveiled its three year restructuring plan last year designed to pare back its sprawling global network. It's bad news for workers but White says shareholders maybe relieved.>> The shares haven't really moved today, which is an indication that this was an expected announcement.
Investors, if anything, will probably be cheered by the fact that the bank is delivering on the cost cutting that it said it would do.>> But this is what trade union Unite has called ruthless and reckless. HSBC's shares have fallen 20% this year as the lender seeks to weather a storm in the global markets.