Staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland look set for an uncertain future after the bank announced today that it would be cutting another 4,500 jobs in the next two years. The bank is currently in talks with employee representatives to form a long term plan which could see up to 9,000 jobs cut worldwide.
With a record loss of £24 billion under former boss, Fred Goodwin, experts have warned that RBS must meet its target of reducing overheads by £2.5million in the next three years, and job losses are necessary in order to do this.
RBS, 70% of which is now owned by the Government, blamed the current economic crisis for the cuts.
Administration staff and IT support from the bank’s Edinburgh and London head offices, as well as Bristol and Manchester, will bear the brunt of the job cut. Another 4,500 overseas workers are also expected to lose their jobs in this latest move, which brings the number of redundancies to 7,200, almost seven per cent of the state-run bank’s workforce.
The state-run bank has come under fire for its latest plan, with Rob Macgregor, national officer of Unite, describing the loss of 4,500 more jobs as ‘devastating’.
“Unite is appalled that thousands of people, who form the backbone of the RBS operations, are to be made redundant. These employees are totally blameless for the current position which RBS is in, yet they are paying for the mistakes at the top of the bank.” He told the BBC.
He believes that the only way to help staff at the troubled bank is for the Government to act quickly, providing a protection programme for jobs.
Unite are not the only ones to have greeted the announcement with dismay. Shirley-Ann Somerville, SNP MSP for Lothian’s, which covers the area of the RBS Edinburgh HQ, told the BBC that ‘today’s announcement will be devastating for those working at RBS and will cause great concern across the city as we wait to find out where the job losses will take place.’
She also expressed anger at the ‘dramatic increase’ in the figures put forward, after RBS initially stated that only 2,500 jobs would go.
Despite the reaction provoked amongst industry insiders, RBS was today playing down the announcement, claiming that the number of actual jobs lost would be significantly lower due to natural turnover, fewer agency staff and voluntary redundancies.