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Barclays Eyes £1 Billion Cost-Cutting Plan Amidst Job Cut Speculations

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Barclays Africa Group

Barclays PLC is reportedly in the initial stages of formulating an ambitious cost-cutting plan that could result in savings of up to £1 billion ($1.3 billion) over the next few years.

The proposed measures, still under review by top management, might include a workforce reduction of as many as 2,000 jobs, primarily at Barclays Execution Services, the unit encompassing the bank’s back-office operations.

While discussions are ongoing, the plan aims to enhance profitability, potentially resulting in the elimination of 1,500 to 2,000 jobs, constituting approximately 2% of the bank’s total workforce.

Barclays is strategically evaluating actions to reduce structural costs as part of its efforts to drive future returns.

The bank anticipates that these cost-cutting initiatives might lead to significant additional charges in the fourth quarter.

Barclays, with total operating expenses of £16.7 billion last year, is grappling with a challenging financial landscape.

The bank’s share prices have declined by 11.5% this year, prompting Chief Executive Officer C.S. Venkatakrishnan to engage strategy advisers to devise plans aimed at reviving the bank’s share performance.

A Barclays spokesperson declined to comment on the ongoing discussions and proposals. The bank revealed last month that it would provide an investor update in February, coinciding with its full-year results announcement.

This update is expected to include a new strategic direction.

Barclays Execution Services Ltd. (BX), the unit potentially affected by these cost-cutting measures, had 22,334 full-time staff at the end of 2022.

The unit provides technology, operations, and functional services to various businesses within the Barclays group.

As the discussions evolve, the bank may prioritize layoffs in other areas to achieve its objectives in optimizing structural costs.

Investors await further details during the upcoming investor update, where Barclays is expected to outline its fresh strategy to navigate the complex financial landscape.

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South Korean Doctors Walk Off Jobs, Demand Better Conditions

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A significant portion of South Korea’s medical workforce, consisting of over 7,800 interns and residents, have resigned from their positions to protest against working conditions and policy directives.

The mass resignation, emblematic of deep-seated discontent within the medical community, has thrust the nation’s healthcare system into turmoil.

Ryu Ok Hada and Park Dan, representative of the disenchanted junior doctors, highlight a chorus of voices calling for improved pay, reduced work hours, and increased recognition.

The doctors, often hailed as a crucial cog in South Korea’s esteemed medical infrastructure, decry being overworked, underpaid, and unheard.

The protests stem from a broader dissatisfaction with the status quo, with hospitals witnessing a surge in canceled surgeries and turned-away patients amidst the walkout.

Such disruptions underscore the pivotal role junior doctors play, particularly in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and operating theaters, where their absence is acutely felt.

At the heart of the issue lies the grueling work hours endured by South Korean doctors, who routinely face shifts lasting over 36 hours, far exceeding international standards.

Park Dan, head of the Korean Intern Resident Association, emphasizes the demanding workload, with doctors often exceeding 100 hours of work per week, all for meager compensation ranging from 2 to 4 million won ($1,500-$3,000) monthly.

The government’s response, marked by threats of arrest and license revocations, has only escalated tensions.

Despite orders to return to work, the doctors argue that such measures are unconstitutional and infringe upon their rights.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo’s assurances of extended hospital hours fail to address the core grievances raised by the medical community.

Central to the doctors’ demands are calls for legal protection from malpractice suits, equitable compensation, and structural reforms within the healthcare system.

While acknowledging the plight of their patients, doctors like Park Dan express the difficulty of navigating a system that prioritizes policy over practitioner welfare.

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Kaduna Electric Implements 10% Salary Hike Amidst N110 Billion Debt Crisis

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Electricity - Investors King

Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (Kaduna Electric) has announced a 10% salary increase for its workforce, despite grappling with a debt of N110 billion and operational challenges.

The decision follows the dissolution of the company’s board of directors by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) due to its failure to settle the substantial debt owed within the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry framework.

Umar Hashidu, appointed by NERC as the company’s administrator under Section 75 of the Electricity Act, emphasized the strategic significance of the salary increment during a meeting with the management team.

Hashidu stressed the importance of boosting employee morale and enhancing overall company performance amidst economic uncertainties.

The salary adjustment is a proactive measure aimed at motivating staff in the face of prevailing economic challenges, noted Hashidu, acknowledging the pressing need to address the escalating cost of living crisis.

Despite Kaduna Electric’s struggles in meeting market obligations and complying with NERC performance indices, Hashidu expressed optimism in overcoming these hurdles through concerted efforts.

The announcement signals a period of transition and reform within Kaduna Electric, following the resignation of the former Managing Director, Yusuf Yahaya.

Despite the company’s debt burden and leadership changes, the salary hike reflects a commitment to prioritize employee welfare and maintain operational stability.

As Kaduna Electric navigates through its financial challenges and strives for improved performance, the salary increase serves as a testament to the company’s dedication to supporting its workforce amidst adversity.

It remains to be seen how this move will impact the company’s trajectory in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry landscape.

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UPS Announces 12,000 Job Cuts Amid Cost Reduction Plans

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United Parcel Service's (UPS)

Global logistics giant UPS has announced its decision to cut 12,000 jobs or 2.4% of its extensive 500,000-strong global workforce.

The decision comes as UPS seeks to achieve $1 billion in cost reductions, citing subdued demand and rising union labor expenses, as stated during its earnings call on Tuesday.

CEO Carol Tomé acknowledged the challenges faced in 2023, emphasizing the company’s commitment to focusing on controllable factors and fortifying its groundwork for future growth despite the adversities.

A UPS spokesperson clarified that the job cuts would impact less than 3% of the company’s total workforce and would not affect union-represented roles.

The reductions are expected to span across various regions and functions within UPS, with 75% of the cuts anticipated to occur within the first half of the year.

UPS’s fourth-quarter revenues for 2023 amounted to $24.92 billion, falling short of Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $25.43 billion.

Consequently, UPS shares experienced a decline of over 8% in Tuesday’s trading session.

The decision follows UPS’s agreement with the Teamsters union last July, which saw adjustments to the pay structure for both full-time and part-time workers.

This move is part of UPS’s broader strategy to streamline operations and navigate evolving market dynamics while maintaining its commitment to financial prudence and sustainability.

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