Royal Bank of Scotland threatens staff with disciplinary action for refusing to open an account at the bank

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is a the centre of a bitter dispute with unions after suggesting that up to 14,000 employees could face disciplinary action unless they open an account with the RBS group and have their salary paid into it.

The bank, which owns NatWest bank, Direct Line and Churchill insurance firms, has written to staff to warn them that company policy requires them to open an RBS account for their salary.

In the letter, Gordon Pell, chief executive of retail markets, tells staff he has “noticed” they are still having their salary paid into an account from outside the RBS Group.

Pell threatens staff that if they fail to meet a deadline for switching from a rival: “I will be obliged to write directly to your line manager asking them to progress this matter according to the group’s disciplinary policy”.

But Amicus union, which represents thousands of RBS workers, said its helpline had been “jammed” with calls from angry staff over the bank’s actions.

Rob MacGregor, national officer at Amicus, said: “If you work for Tesco you won’t be disciplined for buying your groceries from Sainsbury’s. RBS’s disproportionate and heavy-handed approach is counterproductive and bad for morale. We are calling on the bank to reconsider its position.”

The union said up to 14,000 of the firm’s 100,000 employees could be affected by the disciplinary action.

An RBS spokeswoman insisted that the bank’s policy was in line with common industry practice, and said staff were at “complete liberty” to run other accounts with other banks.

The spokeswoman would not, however, deny that staff who did not comply with the regulations could be dismissed.

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