Unite trade union can’t stop RBS branch closures in Scotland
UK-based trade union Unite has criticised the announcement by chartered accountants Johnston Carmichael and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) that only two branches survive the stay of execution in Scotland.
The review, which has been under way since June, assessed the ten rural branches given a reprieve due to public and political pressure, led by Unite, who represent the workforce. The review will now mean that RBS will close 60 branches across Scotland.
Unite believes Johnston Carmichael has failed to properly consider the report by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), 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. Alternatives such as mobile banking are “problematic for inconsistency of service and inaccessibility for more vulnerable customers”. Businesses have also made it clear that they need access to local banking facilities in a timely manner.
Unite regional officer Lyn Turner says: “This is obviously good news for RBS customers and communities in Castle Bay and Biggar. However, the Johnston Carmichael review was entirely predictable and nothing but a rubber-stamp of RBS management decisions. 60 communities out of an original 62 earmarked for closure will now be marginalised by this so-called review. Unite will now request to meet RBS urgently to discuss the impact from today’s announcement on our members.”
Unite will continue to press for a meeting with the Scottish government minister for Communities on the impact this announcement will have.
Branches announced to close on or around the 11 January 2019 are Comrie, Beauly, Douglas, Gretna, Inverary, Kyle, Melrose and Tongue.
In other news, back in May, Unite kicked off its campaign outside the RBS head office in Manchester against the planned closure of 64 branches across the north west of England.
This followed on from December 2017, when RBS revealed another wave of cuts as it closed 259 more branches and axed 680 jobs.