G4S to Cut Jobs After Virus Hastens Move to Cashless Society

G4S Plc has entered talks with workers over a plan to slash jobs at its U.K. cash-handling business as Covid-19 spurs consumers to use other forms of contactless payment.

The move follows a review of Cash Solutions’ footprint in the U.K. amid changing customer needs, Paul van der Knaap, managing director of G4S Cash Solutions UK, said in a statement, without giving details. The GMB union said as many as 1,150 jobs are at risk.

“We are proposing to reshape the business to better align it,” van der Knaap said via email on Monday. “Regrettably this will result in a reduction in headcount.”

The U.K. has seen a swathe of jobs cuts across industries as businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic try to survive. While the U.K. has rolled out measures to save jobs, unemployment is expected to surge as Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unwinds the state funding of wages of more than 12 million people.

The union said it’s negotiating ways to minimize the job cuts, while G4S is looking ways to redeploy staff within the group. It warned the cutbacks are a further sign that Britain is becoming a cashless society, threatening jobs and small- to medium-sized companies and impacting the lives of elderly and vulnerable citizens.

Debit cards already overtook cash as the most frequently used payment method in 2017, according to the Bank of England.

“The cash industry really is on a knife edge,” GMB National Officer Roger Jenkins said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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