When banks compel their people to take two weeks' unpaid Christmas holiday, Barclays edition

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Barclays' CEO Antony Jenkins will be having fun times this Christmas. In between lunching with his family at his home in London's Knightsbridge, Jenkins will be guest-editing BBC Radio Four's Today's programme, along with British celebrities like Michael Palin and the singer PJ Harvey.

Barclays' contractors won't be having such a sparkly season. City AM reports today that the British bank has commanded them all to take 10 days off (unpaid) before the end of the year.

Barclays' contractors are reportedly 'surprised' by this. They shouldn't be, however. Barclays did precisely the same thing in November 2011 (and, we suspect, November 2012).

The British bank badly needs to save money. It has form when it comes to scrimping on staff who aren't properly on the payroll. Barclays has historically been a first mover in cutting contractor pay. Earlier this year, it compelled all its contractors to become VAT registered companies - a move which may have pleased contractors who were able to save on income tax, but which irked the Guardian, which accused the bank of avoiding employer's National Insurance.