RBS sources hundreds of roles in India

The Royal Bank of Scotland may find itself left off a number of employees’ Christmas card list this year as it has taken the decision to source over 300 jobs in India, according to Livemint.

The positions are in IT and inevitably the unions, particularly Unite, are unhappy about the move.

RBS is facing the need to shrink a little as it is partly owned by the UK government and therefore indirectly the British people. The then government bailed it out for a whopping £45bn at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 by buying shares and although the buyback has started, the government still retains a stake.

The governors therefore face the difficult balancing act of obtaining best value for money to build up a good share price for the public purse whilst not appearing to cut too many British jobs, particularly in the run-up to a general election (which is due on the 8th June in the UK after prime minister Theresa May called it unexpectedly last month).

The roles that will disappear number 154 contract positions and a further 180 permanent staff can consider themselves at risk. Workers’ union Unite has described the moves as “unjustified”, although it doesn’t appear to be proposing any constructive alternative.

RBS, which also owns the National Westminster Bank brand, has responded by saying it wants to be a smaller bank focused exclusively on the UK market, and that it therefore needs to reduce the size of its back office. This has some justification behind it but we note that “reduce” and “source from India instead” are not necessarily the same thing other than in the financial sense.

Our guess is that unions notwithstanding, this one’s going to go ahead and according to schedule. Others may follow if RBS benefits and looks more competitive as a result; the question will be how many staff can be redeployed into other areas.

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