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State-owned RBS to axe 9,500 workers

Cutting taxpayers to pay off taxpayers

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RBS will cut up to 9,000 jobs in its back office, call centre and IT operations, the floundering newly state-owned bank announced today.

The bank, which is now 70 per cent owned by the UK government, said it had begun consulting unions and other employee representatives about "a business plan for its back office operations that will regrettably involve job losses".

The Scots-based bank, which managed to lose billions on the property market and ill-advised acquisitions, now plans to lose "up to 9,000 Group Manufacturing roles globally, including 4,500 in the UK, over the next two years." In RBS, Group Manufacturing covers Technology, Group Property, Operations (call centres) and Group Purchasing, according to Unite, the trade unio.

The job cuts together with other cost cuts, including "moving to a common technology platform", should help the bank slash costs by £2.5bn a year, it claimed. RBS has around 170,000 staff worldwide, and cut around 2,700 earlier this year.

Of course, RBS doesn't really want to do this. Stephen Hester, Chief Executive of RBS, said: "We want the Government to be able to realise value from its investment in RBS. To do so we need to cut our costs, as in all businesses, given the current recession."

RBS said that actual job losses could be lower, adding that a "redeployment programme has already identified 650 new job opportunities in the UK and the impact will also be reduced through natural turnover and less use of agency staff".

So, there you go. The bank's former management barges it up the swanny, the UK taxpayer bails it out, but to pay the UK taxpayer back, another 4,500 UK taxpayers will be out of a job, and will have to be bailed out by... the UK taxpayer. It's all so complicated, no wonder Fred Goodwin needed to take early retirement.

Or as Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: "The news that 4,500 RBS staff in the UK are to lose their jobs is truly devastating. Unite is appalled that thousands of people, who form the backbone of the RBS operations, are to be made redundant. These employees are totally blameless for the current position which RBS is in, yet they are paying for the mistakes at the top of the bank.

"The staff, from this continually successful and high performing division who have today been told that many of their jobs are at risk, are the lifeblood of the bank," McGregor thundered. "These people have continued to ensure that RBS is able to deliver great customer service throughout the recent difficulties at the company. ®

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