Struggling bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which was recently rescued by government funds, has started talking to staff about 2,300 job losses.
RBS said it had begun a process of consultation with staff in the UK regarding a restructuring that could lead to a reduction in the number of jobs of up to 2,300.
The move would see a 2% cut in the RBS Group UK workforce of 106,000. The bank said it did not affect customer-facing branch staff. RBS has agreed with union Unite that every effort will be made to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
Alan Dickinson, RBS chief executive, said: “It is essential that we consistently review our business to ensure that we are able to operate as efficiently as possible, especially in the current economic circumstances.
“We will be consulting with our recognised trade union, Unite, and our employees throughout. We fully agree with Unite that we must keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum and we will. We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact on our people and keep job losses and compulsory redundancies to the minimum.”
However, Derek Simpson, Unite joint general secretary, said employees were paying the price for management mistakes.
“The announcement by Royal Bank of Scotland that they plan to cut thousands of jobs marks a disastrous day for staff at the bank and represents a further blow to workers across the financial services sector. These job losses reflect the reality of the credit crunch, where staff face the ultimate penalty in the form of their jobs, while the senior bankers, who played Monopoly with the money of established finance companies, simply walk away with bumper pay-offs,” he said.
“Unite remains opposed to any possible compulsory redundancies as a result of this restructuring plan. The priority, through continued consultation, is now to ensure that every endeavour is made by RBS to avoid any such redundancies. The union will continue to campaign to retain vital financial sector jobs which must remain an essential element in the UK’s strategy to emerge from this economic downturn.”
RBS first signalled the possibility of job losses when it announced a review of its operating model in November 2008.
The banking sector has been hard hit by the recession. HSBC’s decision to cut more than 500 jobs so just before Christmas was branded a disgrace by unions.