Unite anger as RBS ‘turns its back on communities’

Unite anger as RBS ‘turns its back on communities’

23 March 2017

Unite the union has expressed anger over plans by RBS to cut even more branches in Scotland. 

RBS today announced that it plans to close 30 more branches across the whole of Scotland, with an impact on 219 staff and up to 82 full-time equivalent jobs at risk. 

The branches affected are: Anstruther, Banchory, Bishopbriggs, Blantyre, Buckie, Cowdenbeath, Cumnock, Cupar, Dalgety Bay, Denny, Forres, Girvan, Glasgow Alexandra Parade, Glasgow Anniesland Cross, Glasgow Burnside, Glasgow Crosshill, Glasgow Govan, Grangemouth, Kilsyth, Kirkcaldy Central, Leven, Mauchline, Newton Mearns, Newton Stewart, Prestwick, Stenhousemuir, Stonehaven, Troon, Westhill, and Whitburn.

Unite regional officer Lyn Turner said: “RBS is turning its back on the communities that have been the foundation of their business for generations. That’s bad news for our members who now have to live with the threat of redundancy – and it’s bad news for customers and businesses. 

“Banks have a duty to the wider community and that is especially the case for banks like RBS that have large taxpayer-owned shareholdings. 

“Scotland’s financial sector is going through a jobs crisis. We’ve lost more than 20,000 posts since 2008. If those jobs had been lost in any other sector, we believe there would be a national outcry and massive government intervention. But for some reason, the financial big boys are given a free pass, slashing jobs and closing branches. That has to stop.

“We again call on RBS and the government to pause and reflect on the bank's current path, which risks cutting too far, by putting a moratorium in place on further branch closures."

Today’s announcement marks the latest in an on-going RBS closure programme. In 2016, the bank announced plans to close 24 branches in Scotland. 

Unite says survey after survey has found that the majority of people believe convenient local branches are essential or very important to them.

And the union also points to research from campaign group Move Your Money which found that the closure of a branch affects the amount of money loaned to small businesses in the surrounding area – with lending growth 63 per cent less in the postcodes that lose a bank branch. This figure grows to 104 per cent for postcodes that lose their last branch in town. 

Lyn Turner said: “People like the face-to-face contact that having a physical presence in the high street provides. Pensioners, people with mobility issues, and those without internet access are being particularly hard-hit – especially in rural areas. Small businesses are also badly affected – especially those that rely on cash-handing.

“It’s time for banking regulators and government to intervene, to force banks to maintain an adequate network that properly serves communities in Scotland and across the UK.”

Across the whole of the UK, RBS has today announced that it plans to close 158 branches, on top of 86 announced late last year. Some 925 staff will be affected, with 472 full-time equivalent jobs at risk. 

At present the RBS Group has 1,229 branches, made up 184 RBS Scotland branches, 981 NatWest branches and 64 Ulster Bank.


Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 /

Further details of research on the effect of bank branch closures on customers and local businesses can be found in the House of Commons Library Briefing Paper ‘Bank Branch Closures’: