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MILAN: Italy's biggest bank by assets UniCredit is considering cutting around 10,000 jobs, or 10% of its global workforce, as part of a new business plan to be unveiled in December, two sources close to the matter said on Monday.

One of the sources said the bank would announce at least 9,000 redundancies and the job cuts would be almost entirely in Italy.

Negotiations with unions, which are set to begin after the 2020-2023 business plan is announced on Dec. 3, could lead to a smaller number of redundancies.

UniCredit declined to comment as the plan has not been finalised yet. News of the planned job cuts was first reported by Bloomberg.

Labour groups reacted with dismay. FABI, the biggest union representing employees in the banking sector, said that if confirmed the job cuts would be "shameful", adding it was ready to take industrial action against the planned redundancies.

UILCA, another trade union, said it would not stand by and accept a new belt-tightening business plan without being properly consulted.

UniCredit employs 86,000 people worldwide, of which 30,000 work in its commercial banking division in Italy.

In the run-up to the new plan, UniCredit Chief Executive Jean Pierre Mustier has been announcing measures to strengthen the group's balance sheet and cut its exposure to Italy.

It has sold its stake in online broker FinecoBank and will gradually reduce its vast portfolio of Italian government bonds. According to sources close to the matter, the bank is also reviewing its corporate structure and could ring-fence its foreign operations from its sluggish home market.

Mustier's current business plan, "Transform 2019", already envisaged 14,000 job cuts between 2016 and 2019.

Copyright Reuters, 2019