The government’s plan to sell off parts of the state-aided high-street banks RBS and Lloyds Banking Group could result in 25,000 job losses, a union has warned.
Unite called on ministers, employers and UK Financial Investments (UKFI), the body set up last year to manage the government’s investments in financial institutions, to prioritise saving jobs over securing the best price for the banks’ assets.
Unite national officer, Rob MacGregor, said thousands of staff now faced a “bleak future”.
He added: “Another day, another announcement bringing huge uncertainty to employees at the part-nationalised banks, RBS and the Lloyds Banking Group. We cannot allow a situation to arise where some 25,000 loyal workers in bank branches in high streets and towns across the country are made to pay the price for the banking executives’ recklessness.
Under the sell-off plans, Lloyds must sell 600 branches – 4.6% of the entire UK current account market. Cheltenham & Gloucester, Lloyds TSB in Scotland and the TSB brand, as well as some of the bank’s branches in England and Wales, will come under the hammer.
RBS will have to sell more than 300 branches in England and Wales and a few more NatWest branded branches in Scotland. Insurance businesses such as Direct Line and Churchill will also need to be sold off entirely.
RBS announced on Monday it was axing 3,700 jobs at its branches across the UK – with 650 of those jobs expected to go in Scotland. A day later it emerged the bank was to receive a £25bn cash injection from the Treasury, taking the taxpayer’s stake in the business to 84%.