Yesterday The Royal Bank of Scotland announced it is cutting more than 600 jobs from its financial planning service. The Unite union’s response was that the "brutal" cuts represent a 50% reduction in the department across the country.
Unite national officer David Fleming said: "These latest Royal Bank of Scotland job losses are brutal. Six hundred staff, who for some time have faced job uncertainty as the bank reviewed their jobs, have today heard the worst possible news.
"Unite, for some time, has had major concerns about the appalling manner in which these workers at the bank have been treated. The union has continually raised with the bank the increasingly unachievable targets imposed on the workforce and is calling on it to review this redundancy procedure.”
RBS said in a statement: "The Retail Distribution Review legislation takes effect from December 31 2012 and will have a fundamental effect on how financial institutions deliver advice to customers across the whole industry, and for the workforce involved. As a response to this, we will be reducing the number of roles by 618 across UK and creating 351 new roles. Having to cut jobs is the most difficult part of our work to rebuild RBS and repay taxpayers for their support. We continue to make efficiencies across our business to deliver greater value to our customers and shareholders.”
I find it particularly interesting that the bank are blaming this very significant round of redundancies on a need to comply with new banking legislation. Have the banks always been so punctilious about adhering to banking regulations? A quick glance at the obligations imposed by the FSA’s Conduct of Business Rules and the almost total failure to comply with these regulations in the selling – or perhaps more accurately the mis-selling – of interest rate swap agreements would suggest not. I suspect that those clients “sold” swap agreements for which they were wholly unsuited, without adequate advice, information or choice, would dearly have wished for a rather more conscientious approach to banking regulation to have been exercised by their banks. RBS may point to a need to comply with banking legislation now, when a financial saving can be made by the bank by cutting jobs, but where was compliance when there was profit to be generated by the selling of swap agreements? Manifestly missing, I would say.