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‘Death by a thousand cuts’

Unite warns RBS over more branch closures
David Eyre, Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Unite has expressed ‘bitter disappointment’ over further bank branch closures announced by RBS Group.


Unite, the largest union representing RBS staff, said the taxpayer-owned bank was ‘gambling with its future’ and risks ‘a death by a thousand cuts’.


The banking group has plans to close a further 86 branches across the UK on top of the 51 announced earlier this year.  In Scotland, the planned closures would affect 116 staff, and could put around 45 jobs at risk.


The new Scottish branches affected are all in Edinburgh.


This is in addition to 16 branch closures in Scotland announced earlier in the year.


“It is a bitter disappointment that RBS is continuing its slash and burn approach to community branches,”  said Unite regional officer Lyn Turner.


“This is obviously further bad news for RBS staff – all of whom are now living with the daily fear that their job might be next – but it’s also bad news for customers. RBS isn’t being upfront and honest about the changes it wants to make – but spreading them out in way that risks a death by a thousand cuts.


“Our fear is that management are gambling with the future of the bank. If RBS continues to turn its back on customers and communities, then customers and communities may end up turning their back on them.


“We literally all have a stake in RBS, and the bank’s actions should be a huge concern for all of us,” she argued.


Unite says that there is now a need for government action to tackle job losses in the banking sector and to make sure that communities have access to local banking.


“Since 2008, Scotland has lost 19,000 jobs in finance and insurance,” Turner highlighted.  “That is a catastrophe.


“We need the Scottish and UK Governments to start holding RBS and other state-supported banks to account for their flawed strategies, and we also need to look urgently at how we can make sure that communities across Scotland have access to local banking.”


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