Unite members and local Labour Party activists will be demonstrating tomorrow (Wednesday 27 June) outside Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) South Street branch in Perth as the branch permanently closes its doors.
The Perth closure is one of a number in the locality with Kinross, Pitlochry and Aberfeldy all having shut their doors in the last two months. The Dunblane branch is closing on 28th June. The fate of Comrie is still in the balance with the bank’s recent appointment of Johnston Carmichael to review the position of the ten branches given a stay of execution.
Unite Deputy Scottish secretary, Mary Alexander said: “Unite members and many of the local community are angry that the Royal Bank of Scotland is today permanently closing the much valued Perth South Street branch.
“The decision by the bank to close 52 branches across Scotland with a further ten under review is leaving customers and communities across Scotland bereft of access to the financial banking services that they need .
“It is simply illogical that Unite has not been included in the list of stakeholders that Johnston Carmichael will engage with during his review as to whether the branches should remain open. Both the Scottish Affairs Select committee and the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work committee thought Unite’s contribution, as elected representatives of the workforce affected by the decision to close branches was important enough to be asked to give evidence. Yet now the voice of Unite members is being ignored by this review.
“Unite is calling on Johnston Carmichael to look at the report by the Financial Conduct Authority, the finance sector regulator, which acknowledges that consumers in rural areas in the UK are far less likely to use their mobile phones for banking than customers in an urban environment. In addition a recent report by Which? has found Scotland has been the worst hit throughout the UK, by branch closures.”
Unite acknowledges that whilst digital banking is on the up recent studies have shown the necessity for bank branches particularly in communities where access to the internet is patchy. Alternatives such as mobile banking are problematic for inconsistency of service and inaccessibility for more vulnerable customers. Businesses have made it clear that they need access to local banking facilities in a timely manner. RBS must urgently halt their damaging branch closure program for the sake of their customers and staff.
For further information contact Mary Alexander on: 07711 237 075.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.