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Lloyds has unveiled plans to cut 625 jobs across a number of divisions Reuters

Lloyds Banking Group, Britain's biggest high street bank, is set to cut approximately 600 jobs across a number of divisions as it plans to offshore its IT operations to India.

According to Unite, the trade union for UK bank workers, the FTSE 100-listed lender will slash 625 positions as part of the 9,000 job cuts announced by the bank in 2014. The job losses will be followed by a recruitment freeze across several divisions, while many of the remaining staff will be asked to undertake a new "assessment and selection" process, Unite said in a statement on Thursday (21 April).

The move will see up to 82 roles in the bank's IT department transferred to India, but the cuts will also impact workers in Consumer Finance, Commercial Banking, Group Risk, and People, Legal & Strategy. Staff at the bank's sites in London, Brighton, Gloucester, Leeds, Halifax and Wolverhampton are all expected to be affected by the job cuts.

"It is alarming that Lloyds is continuing to offshore IT roles in the name of driving down cost," said John Morgan-Evans, Unite regional officer.

"This simply means that the bank wants to pay an IT worker in India less for the same work carried out in the UK. This disastrous race to the bottom hurts our members and inevitably impacts customers."

Lloyds justified the sweeping job cuts it announced in 2014 by stressing it needed to slash costs to improve its efficiency, but Unite warned cutting jobs while at the same time asking more of remaining staff was a dangerous strategy.

"Unite has made it clear that 'efficiency' cannot simply mean axing more jobs while expecting the same work to fall on fewer shoulders," Morgan-Evans added.

"The bank forgets that these relentless cuts have a human cost. Unpaid overtime and work-related stress are already at endemic levels across the bank and this will reach a crisis point if Lloyds continues to swing the axe."

Lloyds is also preparing to close 21 branches in July, but the lender said its sites will remain a core part of its strategy. "Branches will continue to play an important role in our multi-channel approach to meeting customer needs and we expect to continue to have the biggest branch network in the UK," a bank spokesperson said.