RBS to axe 1,000 IT staff

The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced it will cut a total of 3,500 staff, including 1,000 performing back-office functions, primarily as a result of the divestment of branches
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The Royal Bank of Scotland is to cut 1,000 back office IT staff as part of a programme of 3,500 job losses.

Unite, the union, said on Thursday that the job losses would be "a bitter pill... to swallow" for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) employees.

"The news that the Royal Bank of Scotland is to cut another 3,500 staff from across the UK is a horror story," said Unite national officer Rob MacGregor in a statement. "It will be a specially [sic] bitter pill for staff to swallow as RBS has decided to move some of the jobs abroad to the Far East, India and America."

An RBS spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Friday that the 3,500 job losses would affect RBS Business Services Operations staff. Of the 1,000 IT staff to be cut, most are employed in back office, development, and IT support functions.

A 2009 European Commission order that RBS sell 318 branches, which are being bought by Santander, accounted for a large proportion of the job losses, said the spokeswoman. As there will be 2 million fewer customers, there will be less need for back office support, the spokeswoman added, but that there was a possibility that some of the redundant staff may move to Santander.

RBS Business Services Operations employees in Leeds, Bolton Ashton House, Enfield Lee House, Harrogate, Bristol, Borehamwood, Liverpool Wavertree, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Telford, Bradford, and Norwich will be affected by the cuts, according to an RBS statement.

RBS said in its statement that its recapitalisation by the UK taxpayer in 2009 had contributed to the need to cut jobs.

"Having to cut jobs is the most difficult part of our work to rebuild RBS and repay taxpayers for their support," said the RBS statement. "We continue to make efficiencies across our business and adjust our plans in line with the divestments we have been required to make by the EU. We will do all we can to support our staff, offer redeployment opportunities wherever possible and keep compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum."

Unite said that RBS, which is 84 percent goverment owned, had cut 21,500 staff since 2009.

In May 2009 RBS announced it would shed 700 IT jobs.

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