Bank with us or else!

ROYAL Bank of Scotland staff have been threatened with disciplinary action if they do not open a bank account with their employer. A warning letter has been sent to all members of staff who don't have accounts with the group telling them that failure to open one is a "breach of group policy".

It is thought that 14,000 people have received the letter, including many at the company's Gogarburn world headquarters, where more than 3000 staff are employed.

The Amicus union says it has been bombarded with hundreds of calls from angry staff who have received the letter and is considering taking legal action against the bank over its "disproportionate and heavy-handed" actions.

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Rob Macgregor, Amicus' national officer for RBS staff, said: "Our helpline has been jammed with calls from angry staff. If you work for Tesco you won't be disciplined for buying your groceries at Sainsbury's.

"We are calling on the bank to reconsider its position and we are taking legal advice on this issue. We are prepared to fight."

The letter was sent by Gordon Pell, chief executive of the bank's retail markets operations. In it, he informs staff they must open an account with a bank in the RBS group including NatWest, One Account, Coutts or Adam & Co.

He writes:

"Failure to do so will represent a breach of group policy and I will be obliged to write directly to your line manager asking them to progress this matter according to the group's disciplinary policy."

Staff are also given a phone number to ring to open an account and obtain benefits from YourBank, an internal bank for staff which provides a range of benefits including cheaper mortgages and higher savings rates.

An Amicus spokesman said several hundred staff members have contacted the union to express their fears. He said RBS had not ruled out issuing final written warnings to staff who fail to open an accounts with the bank.

But the company defended the policy, which it claims is "common practice" in the banking sector. A spokeswoman said: "In common with industry practice, our terms and conditions require staff to open a current account with us for the payment of their salary.

"This is made clear to all staff during the interview process and forms part of our overall reward package.

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We will do everything in our power to ensure all staff do it. We do not take disciplinary action lightly and that is why we have sent out this letter."

Halifax owner HBOS said it did not require employees to have an HBOS account but that there were staff accounts available. "We do not force anybody to have an HBOS or Halifax account, " a spokesman said.

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