Unite slams RBS closures

Unite Scotland is giving evidence to the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee inquiry in Holyrood today, as they lay bare the cost of Royal Bank of Scotland closures to staff and communities.

Of the 62 branches currently earmarked for closure, 179 out of 228 staff face redundancy, though the true figure could be even hire if you account for part time staff. The closures represent one third of all RBS branches in Scotland - presenting a startling problem for elderly customers or those with limited mobility.

Regional officer Lyn Turner slammed the closures stating that:

“The inquiry is an opportunity for the Scottish Parliament to unite and send a loud message to RBS chiefs that their immoral actions are a historic betrayal of communities who have supported the bank for generations.”

RBS is still in majority public ownership, after the £40 billion bailout from the government in 2008 saved the bank from its own catastrophic failures. Unite will make clear that they believe the closures are merely preparing the bank for privatisation, in an attempt to make the bank more attractive to a city buyout. Once again, the bankers are privatising the profits and socialising the losses.

Weasel words from the Tory government that they cannot interfere with the closures because it’s “a commercial decision” are ludicrous when the government itself is the majority shareholder. RBS owes the people of this country a debt of more than just money, but despite this the bank is helping to create a two-tiered society where only wealthy areas have access to vital banking services.

The Union are also planning to hold a protest on Wednesday outside the bank’s AGM in Edinburgh, as they claim that RBS has infringed all the standing protocols for closures. Speaking about the protest, Unite Scotland Deputy Mary Alexander didn’t mince her words:

“The RBS AGM protest led by Unite is an opportunity for the wider public to show its disgust at the proposed closures. It is a bank seventy one per cent owned by the public with a board which is demonstrating zero responsibility to the public. Let’s not forget that RBS recently made an annual profit of £752m, yet these closures are projected to save less money than its sponsoring of Six Nation rugby.

We will be directly challenging RBS senior management on a number of their assertions through the use of proxy votes and the consequences of the closures which will scar communities across Scotland.” 

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