Unite warning RBS over ‘death of a thousand cuts’

Unite warning RBS over ‘death of a thousand cuts’

01 December 2016

Unite the union 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 of 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 and include:  

• Blenheim Place branch on 31 May 2017

• Castle Street branch on 21 June 2017

• Chesser branch on 26 June 2017

• Comiston branch on  6 June 2017

• Davidson Mains branch on 7 June 2017

• Gilmerton branch on 1 June 2017

• Juniper Green branch on 5 June 2017

• Portobello branch on 12 June 2017

• University branch on 14 June 2017

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

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

“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.”

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. 

Lyn Turner said: “Since 2008, Scotland has lost 19,000 jobs in finance and insurance. 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.”


Notes to editors 

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Unite regional officer Lyn Turner on 07980 871394, or Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 /

Details of previous RBS announcements on branch closures are available here:

In Scotland, 105,300 people were employed in Finance and Insurance in 2008. In 2015, the number was 86,200, a fall of 19,100. Figures are taken from the Office of National Statistics Business Register and Employment Survey. 

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.