Unite has expressed anger over plans by RBS to cut even more branches in Scotland.
On 23 March, RBS announced that it plans to close 30 more branches across the whole of Scotland, with an impact on 219 staff and up to 82 full-time equivalent jobs at risk.
Unite regional officer Lyn Turner said: “RBS is turning its back on the communities that have been the foundation of their business for generations. That’s bad news for our members who now have to live with the threat of redundancy – and it’s bad news for customers and businesses.
“Banks have a duty to the wider community and that is especially the case for banks like RBS that have large taxpayer-owned shareholdings.
“Scotland’s financial sector is going through a jobs crisis. We’ve lost more than 20,000 posts since 2008. If those jobs had been lost in any other sector, we believe there would be a national outcry and massive government intervention. But for some reason, the financial big boys are given a free pass, slashing jobs and closing branches. That has to stop.
“We again call on RBS and the government to pause and reflect on the bank's current path, which risks cutting too far, by putting a moratorium in place on further branch closures."
Unite has also expressed anger and concerns over plans to close 24 Bank of Scotland branches across the country. Unite national officer Rob McGregor said: "The industry must halt these endless branch closure programs and open their eyes to what these closures are doing to rural communities, their disabled customers and the small business customers who depend on access to a local branch.”
Unite Community activists say no to sanctions
Scottish campaigners from Unite the union protested outside job centres on Thursday 30 March as part of a UK-wide day against benefit sanctions.
Unite Community – the section of the union for people not in work – has taken up the issue after hearing first-hand stories of how people are being left destitute as a result of having their social security taken away for ‘ridiculous reasons’.
Campaigners held #No2Sanctions protests outside job centres in Irvine, Dundee, Edinburgh and Dunfermline, highlighting what they say is the horrific consequences of sanctions, as portrayed in Ken Loach’s award-winning film ‘I, Daniel Blake’.
Unite Scotland Community co-ordinator Jamie Caldwell said: “More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Last year an estimated total of 25,000 benefit claimants were sanctioned across Scotland - many of whom were left with nothing.
“What kind of a country are we living in, where a government can deliberately set out to leave children without enough to eat? It’s heartbreaking for that to happen in developing countries, but it’s a source of national scandal and shame in a rich country like the UK.
“Rather than punishing the unemployed for not having a job the government should be helping people get jobs. People need a hand up – not a slap down.”
Unite Community are inviting people who have been affected by sanctions to share their stories, by going to their campaign website at www.unitetheunion.org/no2sanctions.
28 April is International Workers’ Memorial Day, when workers come together and remember those who have been killed and injured at work. The slogan for the day is “remember the dead – fight for the living” and the symbol is the purple ribbon.
Sadly, it is all too likely that know someone who has died at work, has been injured in the workplace or is suffering from an occupational diseases.
This year Unite is highlighting the message that an organised workplace is a safe workplace, while also recognising the vital work of Unite safety reps in ensuring that their fellow workers are safe at work.
There are Workers Memorial Day events taking place across Scotland on 28 April, including Aberdeen, Bathgate, Coatbridge, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton and Inverness.
Thanks to all the Unite Scotland members who took part in this year's #HeartUnions week. ❤Unions week is timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, and is a chance to celebrate everything that is great about trade unions - and especially Unite.
Special congratulations go to the NHS Ayrshire & Arran Branch, who held a special #HeartUnions event and got lots of staff involved.
If you're interested in organising a #HeartUnions day of action next year, drop us a line and we'll help get you the materials you need. It's a chance to talk to your colleagues, family and friends about why being part of Unite matters to you. Email email@example.com