Banking giant Lloyds is suspending 780 job cuts across its branches amid surging demand for loans and uncertainty over how many of its staff may need to self-isolate.
The cuts were originally announced in February as part of a cost-cutting drive by Lloyds, which is working to shrink its branch network in response to declining demand for high street banking.
“At this uncertain time, we have made the decision to stop the structural changes that were due to take place for some of our teams. Our focus is on supporting our customers and colleagues during this unprecedented time,” a Lloyds spokesperson said.
Earlier today, the Bank of England told banks and building societies to keep branches open wherever possible after the government ordered the shutdown of almost all non-essential businesses open to the public.
Employee union Accord said Lloyds had suspended all union negotiations over further restructuring and layoffs in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lloyds did not immediately respond for a request for comment on the negotiations. The scrapping of the planned job cuts was first reported by The Guardian.
“This is a good move by Lloyds to suspend the program of redundancies,” Ged Nichols, general secretary of Accord, told Reuters.
“The cuts were planned in view of forecasts of over-capacity across Lloyds branch network which, given current circumstances, do not seem to hold up anymore.”
Nichols said the suspending of union negotiations was “a very small silver lining for staff”. “There will be more people in work than might otherwise have been,” he continued.