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The News Line: News 1.300 SACKED AT NORTHERN ROCK Northern Rock bosses yesterday confirmed that the nationalised bank has sacked 1,300 workers.

Eight hundred of the redundancies were compulsory, with the remaining 500 being voluntary, the bank said.

The cuts are part of its effort to streamline its operations after being nationalised.

The number of sackings is consistent with earlier announcements and reduces total staff numbers to around 4,500.

Northern Rock said yesterday that the redundancies meant it now needed less office space and would also seek to sell or offer to let two office developments near Newcastle.

It will retain its two main office sites in Gosforth and Doxford Park, Sunderland.

Northern Rock executive chairman Ron Sandler said: ‘This has been a very difficult period for the whole Company.

‘The consultation process has been a substantial exercise and it has been undertaken carefully and thoroughly.

‘All parties – staff, Unite the union and management – have acted professionally and responsibly to ensure that the final outcome was achieved as sensitively as possible.

‘We must now look to the future, deliver our plan and return this business back to health and profitability in the coming years.’

The bank had previously said it intended to cut up to 2,000 staff by 2011. It had been one of the biggest employers in the north-east of England with a workforce of around 6,000.

On top of the redundancies, around 200 staff have left the bank and it expects a further ‘natural turnover’ to bring the workforce down to 4,000.

Northern Rock has reduced its residential mortgage lending by half as it attempts to shed loans that had proved difficult to finance in wholesale money markets.

It is predicted that as many as 140,000 Northern Rock mortgage holders will face repossession when their fixed rate mortgages come to an end this year.

• Land Rover yesterday announced that it is cutting production by one day a week in response to slower world economic growth.

The now Indian-owned automaker will make Land Rover and Discovery vehicles on four days a week, from Monday to Thursday.

Land Rover added that it is also suspending some night shifts, starting from October.

It said there will be no redundancies from the changes, which will affect the West Midlands Solihull plant.

A Land Rover spokesman said the cut in output would reduce a ‘very small’ percentage of annual production.

Indian carmaker Tata bought Land Rover and Jaguar for £1.7bn from US producer Ford earlier this year.
 
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