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Nationwide’s pledge on merger job losses

Nationwide has pledged to keep compulsory redundancies as low as possible following the announcement of its planned merger with Portman.

The two building societies have admitted that the current combined workforce of over 18,500 staff will have to be trimmed when the amalgamation is complete in September 2007 but the exact numbers are still to be determined.

Most job losses are likely to come through natural wastage, with Nationwide revealing that it has a turnover of around 1,000 employees a year and will look to minimise recruitment rather than cut staff.

Nationwide will try to keep as many processes as possible in their current locations to prevent staff relocation. Swindon will remain as head office and Northampton as the admin centre while Portman’s Bournemouth base is likely to be the combined group’s specialist mortgage hub.

Nationwide executive director Stuart Bernau says: “We do not know how many job losses there will be and we are bound by agreements with the unions and we shall be discussing matters with them.

“Nationwide has a turnover of 1,000 staff a year so we will look at recruitment changes over the next 12 months. It is clear that there will not be the same number of people at the two organisations as at the moment.”

Portman chief executive Robert Sharpe confirms: “There are clearly going to be job losses on both sides.”

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