Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has called on the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to halt their planned closures across the country and to enter into meaningful consultation with relevant unions in an attempt to protect customers and staff.
The RBS announced earlier in May that they would shut close to 60% of their Williams and Glyn bank branch network which represents the scaling back of the bank’s customer services responsibilities according to Unite, the country largest union. Unite, which represents the bank’s workforce, has said that the closure plans has shocked the staff who have today been told of the closure of 162 branches impacting 993 members of staff across the country.
Unite analysis found that 71 of the 162 branches closing would force customers, on average, to make return journeys of around 25 miles. This is even more astounding in Scotland where RBS has been forced to observe a moratorium in relation to ten branches previously identified for closure.
The bank spent £1.8 billion last year trying to set up Williams and Glyn as a stand-alone bank. Nobody has been held to account for this enormous failed IT project and yet the workforce is paying the price for such poor management in the form of their jobs. Affected branches will close in two tranches, the first in July and August 2018 with the remainder closing in October and November 2018. The north-west region is one of the biggest impacted with 62 branches closing, while all other regions across England and Wales will also see branch closures.
Locally, on 1 May, RBS announced the closure of six RBS branches across Greater Manchester, including the RBS branch on Hyde Road in Denton.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Too many high streets have become blighted by short-sighted bank branch closures. Small businesses can’t get the loans they need and vulnerable and elderly constituents lose out when banks put their profits ahead of customer need.
“The next Labour government will tighten up the law to make sure banks in Denton and Reddish will continue to provide an essential local public service. Only Labour has the policies we need to put workers and small businesses in Denton and Reddish first.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said:
“High street bank closures have become an epidemic in the last few years, blighting our town centres, and hurting particularly elderly and more vulnerable customers whilst making healthy profits. It’s time our banks recognise instead that they are a utility providing an essential public service.
“Only Labour will put in place the legal obligations needed to bring banks into line and stand up for our high streets, communities and small businesses.”