Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank’s parent company to axe 2,300 jobs

Ulster Bank’s parent company, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to axe up to 2,300 jobs.

RBS said the cuts would not affect customer-facing branch staff and pledged to make every effort to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

The bank, now 68%-owned by the Government, said the cuts represent around 2% of the group's workforce of 106,000.

A spokesman for Ulster Bank declined to comment on the announcement.

It comes just weeks after Ulster Bank revealed it would be shedding 200 jobs in Northern Ireland and 550 in the Republic as part of a cost-cutting exercise. An additional 550 posts are to be axed in the Republic.

RBS yesterday attributed the latest jobs blow to a restructure of its business.

Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, referring to apologies given by RBS and HBOS bosses before a committee of MPs yesterday, said: “On the day that sorry appears to be the easiest word for the bosses, 2,300 employees are left paying the price for management mistakes.

“The announcement by Royal Bank of Scotland that they plan to cut thousands of jobs marks a disastrous day for staff at the bank and represents a further blow to workers across the financial services sector.

“These job losses reflect the reality of the credit crunch, where staff face the ultimate penalty in the form of their jobs, while the senior bankers, who played Monopoly with the money of established finance companies, simply walk away with bumper pay-offs.

“Unite remains opposed to any possible compulsory redundancies as a result of this restructuring plan. The priority, through continued consultation, is now to ensure that every endeavour is made by RBS to avoid any such redundancies.

“The union will continue to campaign to retain vital financial sector jobs which must remain an essential element in the UK's strategy to emerge from this economic downturn.”

The former bosses of bailed-out banks RBS and HBOS offered their “profound” apologies yesterday — just hours before RBS announced plans to axe up to 2,300 jobs.

At a highly-anticipated encounter with the Treasury Select Committee, the former chiefs admitted they had misjudged the extent of the financial turmoil that engulfed both banks.

Both RBS and HBOS were brought to their knees by the credit crunch and were bailed out in the £37 billion taxpayer-funded rescue.

Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive of RBS, which is now 68% owned by taxpayers, apologised for “all of the distress that has been caused”.

Sir Fred — known in the industry as “Fred the Shred” — and former RBS chairman Sir Tom McKillop faced accusations of “destroying a great British bank and costing the taxpayer £20 bn” thanks largely to their decision to buy Dutch rival ABN Amro in 2007 at the peak of the market.

The pair admitted the £50bn RBS-led takeover was “a bad mistake” and was now virtually worthless after the bank market collapse.

Belfast Telegraph