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Barclay's bonuses - laughing all the way to the bank
A finance worker, Leicester
It has been announced that Barclays Bank is to cut 10,000-12,000 jobs in 2014, 7,000 of which will be in the UK.
This comes hot on the heels of the 7,650 jobs axed only last year. Chief Executive Antony Jenkins cited 'loss of profits' as the reason for giving 9% of his staff the sack, 92.5% of whom will be frontline workers.
But despite Barclays' profit slump, its pre-tax gains were still £5.2 billion for 2013. The pocketing of this at the expense of providing secure employment starkly reveals their priorities.
Some of the primary causes for this loss of profit have been the costs of 'internal restructuring' and paying legal costs. £1.2 billion alone has been spent on the 'Transform' programme to change Barclays into a 'better-behaved' bank, ie to operate legally within regulatory guidelines.
These changes come in the wake of a series of scandals surrounding Barclays, including being the market front-runner in mis-sold PPI, fined £290 million for rigging Libor interest rates, forced to dissolve their tax avoidance division, as well as thousands of files of customer data being leaked and sold.
This is not to mention the central role the finance sector as a whole played in the 2007-8 crash, which has devastated millions of lives around the world.
It is clear that banks like Barclays do not feel they bear the responsibility for the destruction they have wrought.
Instead, the price of Barclays' illegal gambling and profiteering is being passed on to their workers in the form of job losses.
The latest affront came when it was revealed that at the same time thousands are being laid off, the bank's bonus pool for 2013 rose by 10% to an eye-watering £2.38 billion! Investment bankers in particular are seeing an increase of 13% (£1.6 billion).
Since public money was used to bail out the banks they have paid out much more in bonuses than in corporation tax, with Barclays in 2012 paying £82 million in CT while having a bonus pool of £2.1 billion!
It's obvious that the banks are incapable of restraint when there's the potential to make a quick buck.
Improving trade union membership among finance workers is a key first step towards fighting back against these attacks.
Ultimately though, unless the banks are taken into public ownership there will be no stopping the practices of gambling and corruption, and the public will inevitably be footing the bill.
In The Socialist 19 February 2014:
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