G4S has announced plans to cut up to 1,150 jobs through a shake-up of its cash-handling business in the UK.
The company said it was the culmination of a review covering the operational footprint of its Cash Solutions arm including vans which pick up and deliver cash to businesses across the economy.
The review is understood to have taken in the impact of the coronavirus crisis and weaker demand, more generally, for physical money amid the surge in online payments and digital banking.
The GMB union warned the proposals marked “another worrying step towards a cashless society”.
Paul van der Knaap, managing director of G4S Cash Solutions UK, said in a statement: “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.
“Regrettably this will result in a reduction in headcount, and today we have entered into a period of consultation with affected staff.
“We are working closely with unions and individuals to offer opportunities for redeployment within the group.”
G4S shares, which have lost 40% of their value in the year to date, were trading 10% higher in the wake of the announcement.
Analysts said the rally mainly reflected a positive earnings statement from G4S earlier in the day when it had told investors that adjusted half-year profits would be significantly above current market expectations.
The job cuts build on a deepening crisis as major employers, particularly in travel and retail, curb staff numbers despite continuing support from various government COVID-19 crisis schemes.
The chancellor bolstered the package through up to £30bn of commitments during last week’s summer statement to MPs.
Roger Jenkins, GMB National Officer, said of the company’s plans: “These cuts are devastating for our members and their families. GMB will fight to the end for every single job.
“They are also another worrying step towards a cashless society – the cash industry really is on a knife edge.
“The collapse of cash industry could have a terrible impact on the elderly and most vulnerable and wreak havoc on small and medium enterprises which rely on cash transactions.
“GMB is calling on the Government to take action to protect the cash industry and all those who will be hit hard is it disappears.”