By Maximilian Clarke

A shake up of RBS Group’s investment branch as part of the broader strategy of reform as outlined back in 2009, which will see some 3,500 job losses, has sparked the anger of the unite union.

"We launched the RBS recovery plan in 2009 with strategic tests for the businesses that the Group would retain,” commented RBS Group Chief Executive, Stephen Hester. “They would be restructured and managed to sustain strong, customer driven competitive positions, return more than their cost of capital, use a proportionate amount of Group resources and be closely connected with each other.

"This strategy has succeeded in making RBS stronger and placing us on the road to long-term success. We have reduced our balance sheet by some £600 billion and have rebuilt capital ratios that place us among our strongest international peers. Our core Retail and Commercial businesses outside Ireland now operate with an attractive return on equity overall. Our investment bank has produced an average return on equity of 19% and delivered over £10 billion in profits since 2009. Our Non-Core assets have fallen below £100 billion, ahead of schedule. Profits from our Core businesses have been essential to pay for the clean-up losses of RBS legacy.

But union representatives, who observe that the publicly backed bank will have shed in excess of 25,000 jobs, have responded angrily to a process they feel rewards the more highly paid at the top of the bank regardless of performance, at the expense of thousands of modestly jobs at the bottom.

“For the Royal Bank of Scotland to cut 3,500 jobs globally is staggering for the workforce who have already experienced 22,000 jobs cuts in the UK since the start of the financial crisis in 2008,” commented David Fleming, Unite national officer. “Enough is enough. It is a disgrace that while on a daily basis stories are emerging about the massive bonuses at the top of the bank, increasing numbers of jobs are being cut from amongst the hard working staff.

“RBS staff have faced endless speculation and uncertainty about their futures. It is time for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group to come clean about all its restructuring plans and be honest with the staff.

“Unite has major concerns about the implications of today's announcement. It is vital that RBS extends Unite’s collective bargaining agreement to all parts of the group to ensure that employees are fairly represented across the business.”