RBS slammed for ‘brutal’ cuts days after bonus row

Bank says 40 per cent of 1400 job losses to be in city
Bank says 40 per cent of 1400 job losses to be in city
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THE Royal Bank of Scotland was under fire today after announcing 1400 more job losses just two days after defending £607 million of bonuses awarded to executives.

The Edinburgh-based banking group said 40 per cent of the posts cut would be in the Capital.

Dominic Hook, of the Unite union, said: “This is brutal and irresponsible behaviour. It is high time the banks took social responsibilities seriously.”

The union has demanded no compulsory redundancies from the bank, pointing out that with RBS returning to profit after making £826m in the first quarter this year there was no business case “for cutting jobs so drastically”.

RBS employs 9200 staff in the Capital. About 700 employees across Scotland have been told their jobs are under threat as part of the first phase of cuts.

The changes will affect support staff for the bank’s retail arm, including those working in communications, marketing and customer data services.

RBS said it was refocusing resources on “things that matter most” to customers, citing branch refurbishments and 
mobile and online services.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the Scottish Government would do everything it could to provide support and help to those affected, but he said the bank’s confirmation that it would be reinvesting in Edinburgh as a vital centre for retail banking was “a welcome commitment to Scotland”.

RBS has been dogged by controversy in recent months linked to Libor rate fixing, mis-selling scandals and claims it has been mistreating customers.

City economic convener Councillor Frank Ross said: “We were always aware that the financial crisis would result in a degree of restructuring in the finance sector and that, unfortunately, this would impact on levels of unemployment in the city. Obviously we recognise that this brings great uncertainty and worry for those affected.

“For this reason, we will seek to work with the Government, their agencies and our partners to ensure the workforce are supported as much as possible.”

Lothians Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “In recent years RBS has suffered from poor judgement at the top, but this decision – hot on the heels of hundreds of millions paid in bonuses to its casino bankers – really plumbs the depths.”

Edinburgh Central SNP MSP Marco Biagi said his greatest concern was that RBS could choose to pull its main operations base out of the city if recent economic pressures 
continued.

He said: “What’s important for me is that RBS maintains its central presence in Edinburgh. You can’t be the Royal Bank of Scotland if you’re not in 
Scotland.

“What’s absolutely vital is that as many jobs are protected and core functions are guaranteed to stay in Edinburgh for as long as the bank operates.”

Hugh Rutherford, chairman of the Edinburgh Business Forum, said: “Although disappointing news, we need to remember the financial institutions who have recently opened centres here, including Tesco Bank, Sainsbury’s Bank and the Green Investment Bank, thanks to our talented and skilled workforce.”

dale.miller@edinburghnews.com