Security company G4S is planning to cut more than a quarter of jobs in its cash handling business amid the fall in cash transactions during the coronavirus crisis as people are encouraged to pay by card.
The company has started a consultation process that could result in 1,150 redundancies across UK and Ireland, with the drivers of armoured vehicles who carry cash for businesses thought to be among those at risk.
It said the drop in cash transactions was partly driven by an increase in contactless payments, which have been encouraged by many retailers to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
However, G4S signalled that it was having problems shortly before the coronavirus lockdown when it reported a £91m loss for 2019.
The company said it hopes to find alternative jobs within G4S for those affected by the redundancies at G4S Cash Solutions UK.
“Following a review of our cash solutions operational footprint in the UK, we are proposing to reshape the business to better align it with the changing needs of our customers,” said G4S Cash Solutions UK managing director Paul van der Knaap.
“Regrettably, this will result in a reduction in headcount and today we have entered into a period of consultation with affected staff.
Roger Jenkins, national officer for the GMB union, said the cash industry was “on a knife edge”.
“These cuts are devastating for our members and their families. GMB will fight to the end for every single job,” he said.
Last week the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned that UK unemployment could reach almost 15% if there was a second wave of coronavirus infections, and could soar to 11.7% in Q3 2020 even if the epidemic is under control.