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RBS 'to axe up to 30,000 jobs'


RBS headquarters in the City of London

RBS headquarters in the City of London

RBS headquarters in the City of London

As many as 30,000 jobs are to go at Royal Bank of Scotland over the next few years as part of plans to shrink the bailed-out bank, it was reported today.

The group is expected to use annual results next week to announce its exit from many of its riskier investment bank activities, as well as much of its overseas business.

RBS employs 120,000 staff but the Financial Times said the downsizing by chief executive Ross McEwan will lead to a reduction of about a quarter in the group's headcount over the next three to five years.

The bank, which is just over 80%-owned by the Government, will refocus its activities on retail customers, small businesses and larger corporates.

Mr McEwan said in a video posted on the company's website this week: "My aspiration is not to run the world's biggest bank. My aspiration is to run the best bank in the UK - nothing to do with size. A lot of our costs are old costs related to a big global group that we are not any more."

The group's annual results on Thursday are set to reveal an annual loss of close to £8 billion for 2013 after it stunned the City last month by revealing a string of scandal-related financial charges worth more than £3 billion.

RBS is expected to make heavy cuts to the 11,000 jobs in its investment bank, including a retreat from its US and Asian markets businesses. The planned sale of its US retail bank Citizens will remove 18,500 jobs, while further reductions will come from its float of Williams & Glyn's, which employs about 4,500 staff.

The group has axed an estimated 40,000 jobs since its taxpayer-backed rescue in 2008.

The Unite union said it planned to meet RBS next week to demand clarity over staffing levels in the UK.

National officer Rob Macgregor said: " The constant leaks and media briefings that appear to be coming from RBS are having a terrible effect on workers and their families and it needs to stop.

"Ross McEwan has now told staff that there will be no big announcement on jobs next week. But after over 30,000 job cuts and constant reorganisations, morale is low, workloads are increasing and staff feel there is still no end in sight.

"According to the chief executive, next week's results will be about explaining the bank's ambition to become a great bank for customers.

"Our message to RBS is that if it wants to deliver on that commitment then it needs all its staff and they need to be treated with respect, rather than being used as disposable pawns."