By Daniel Hunter

HSBC have announced that they will cut 3,166 jobs in the UK as it continues efforts to reduce costs.

The bank's chief executive, Brian Robertson has said that he sympathises with those losing their jobs.

"I understand change is always unsettling, particularly for those directly affected," he said.

"We are doing everything possible to offer impacted employees opportunities from the many newly created roles, and I'm confident a significant majority will remain with the bank."

However, the Unite union said it may ballot its members at the bank for industrial action.

"HSBC is making staff suffer in the search for ever greater profits. The bank's behaviour is a disgrace," Unite's national officer, Dominic Hook said.

"After making proposals to slash pensions, holidays and sick pay, the bank is now slashing even more jobs.

"Staff are at the end of their tether and we will be asking them in due course if they are prepared to take part in a strike ballot to oppose this unprecedented attack by this very profitable bank."

The bank said the positions would mostly go from its wealth management division, but that it hoped to redeploy more than 2,000 of the affected staff.

The cuts are part of HSBC's continuing three-year cost-cutting plan, and follows the loss of 2,200 jobs in 2012.

HSBC, which is Europe's biggest bank, currently employs more than 47,000 staff across the UK.

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