Northern Rock to shed 650 jobs

NORTHERN Rock has said it plans to axe 650 jobs by the end of the year in a massive cost-cutting shake-up at the lender.

The process is part of taking the bank out of public ownership and making it a fully fledge private company again.

Chief executive Gary Hoffman said the bank had to "align our staffing level to match the smaller size of the business".

The Unite union claims the number of jobs cut will be 990, in addition to the 2,000 already lost since 2008.

Union official Rob MacGregor said: "The decision by Northern Rock management to cut over 20 per cent of its workforce and alter the pensions of the remaining staff is devastating.

"Such massive changes represent a total reappraisal of the service the bank provides to it's customers."

But Northern Rock defended the decision in a statement.

It said: "We remain in public ownership and it is important that we continue to deliver value for taxpayers."

The lender employs about 4,500 people.