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HSBC to cut positions in Britain

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank, will eliminate 3,167 positions in the U.K. as part of its global plan to control costs.

HSBC will create some new jobs, leaving a net 2,217 fewer employees at the bank, the London-based lender said in a statement Thursday. Most of the jobs lost will be in senior or middle management, and the lender's 1,250 U.K. branches will be "largely unaffected," it said. The bank employs about 52,000 people in Britain.

The job losses are within plans announced last year to reduce head count by 30,000, or about 10 percent, by the end of 2013. Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver is trying to cut as much as $3.5 billion in expenses over the next two years as he prepares for stricter capital rules that will crimp earnings.

"HSBC is sending over 3,100 of its staff to the back of the unemployment queues," David Fleming, national officer for the labor union Unite said in a statement. "The hypocrisy of CEO Stuart Gulliver taking home 8 million pounds [$13 million], while claiming the bank must cut thousands of staff in order to save money, will not be lost on the workforce."

"We have taken the difficult decision to restructure HSBC in the U.K. in order to reduce layers of management and bureaucracy," Brian Robertson, CEO of the HSBC Bank Plc unit, said in the lender's statement. "These changes will enhance our efficiency as detailed in the strategy we announced last May, and they will also help ensure our continued profitability in the face of the changing regulatory landscape."