Mar 2, 2020
Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.
Giant British bank HSBC announced plans to lay off 35,000 of its 235,000 workers and close a third of its 224 branches over the next several years. HSBC already cut 50,000 workers worldwide in 2015. This biggest investment bank in Europe intends to become even more profitable at the expense of its workers.
The bank justifies the cuts by saying its profits fell from 14.5 billion dollars the year before last to 13 billion dollars last year. This was not enough for big shareholders who told journalists they wanted 21 billion dollars.
Bank officials’ other justifications range from the effects of Brexit to the Coronavirus, trade tensions between China and the U.S., and the protests in Hong Kong. HSBC was founded in Hong Kong in 1865.
As with all capitalist enterprises, profit is the bottom line. HSBC might sell its French subsidiary with 8,000 workers because “its retail banking business is small and its profits limited,” according to one advisor.
Tens of thousands of jobs cut so that shareholders get more dividends: HSBC is the spitting image of this rotten capitalist system.