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Saturday 26th
posted by Malcolm Burns in Britain

RBS has been accused of boosting profits by slashing thousands of jobs.

The banking giant, which is 80 per cent owned by taxpayers after its 2008 bailout, yesterday posted pre-tax profits of £2.65 billion for the first half of 2014 — almost double the level of the previous year.

Unite executive member Agnes Tolmie warned of yet more cuts “on the horizon” and said there would be massive payouts to bank bosses in the spring pay round.

RBS said the better results came as economic improvements in Britain and Ireland had fed through to its bottom line while it was also running down bad assets more quickly.

But a Unite spokesman told the Morning Star: “This return to profitability was paid for in the jobs of the thousands who were made redundant and in the daily hard work of the remaining staff.”

The union said that RBS workers and the country as a whole had “paid dearly for the reckless squander and spend by a banking elite.”

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said the results showed that the bank was making “steady progress” towards becoming a “much simpler, smaller and fairer bank.”

Mr McEwan said: “Underneath all the noise and huge restructuring of recent years, RBS is a fundamentally stronger bank that can deliver good results for customers and shareholders.”

But Ms Tolmie said it was “a recovery based on slashing jobs.

“The doubling of profit doesn’t surprise me in terms of the actions they have taken — the scale of job losses, departments hived off, and closures of high-street branches. 

“Since the collapse in 2008, more than 30,000 jobs have gone. And there is more of the same on the horizon,” she warned.

She also rejected the suggestion that the bank’s restructuring was delivering a better culture.

“We have workers working hours unpaid because of a climate of fear for their jobs.

“RBS is managing people to within an inch of their life and we’re still a target-driven sales culture.

“We will see in the spring when the pay round comes again a massive payout to the bosses at the expense of ordinary workers in this industry.”

She added that the average wage in RBS may be £34,000 but front-line staff earn less than £21,000 per year.