Thursday, 2 September 2010

More job losses at RBS, but still no picket lines

The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it will be cutting a further 3,500 jobs from its technical and back office division. This comes on the back of a total 27,000 job losses since it began its restructuring plan in early 2009. Meanwhile, the company has announced profits of £1.1bn.

Needless to say, the contrast is an obscenity. Especially given that the bank has no qualms about giving those at the top individual bonuses of over £1m whilst those at the bottom are shown the door.

However, this kind of disparity - where those at the top are rewarded even for failure and those at the bottom punished even for success - is to be expected. It is a microcosm for the ideology of cuts more broadly, and part and parcel of capitalist society.

What is truly obscene is the lack of serious fightback.

Unite, the union which supposedly represents RBS workers, has issued a press release condemning the job losses;
The news that the Royal Bank of Scotland is to cut another 3,500 staff from across the UK is a horror story.

It will be a specially bitter pill for staff to swallow as RBS has decided to move some of the jobs abroad to the Far East, India and America.

Just three weeks ago staff were boosted to hear of the £1.1 billion half year profit yet today thousands of them are told that they have no future at the bank.

Unite is appalled that this 84 per cent tax payer supported institution has since 2009 - under the banner of a strategic review - cut 21,500 staff.

The scale of the cuts announced today beggars belief and staff across the country today will be left reeling from this news. We continue to see a financial services sector which thinks the skills and expertise of it's staff are a disposable asset with scant regard for the high level of service these very same staff provide to their customers.
There is nothing wrong in their assesment of the situation. It is indeed unacceptable that workers are little more than a "disposable asset" for the purpose of boosting the bosses profit.

But simply being "appalled" will not save the workers' jobs.

As I've argued many times previously, the only way to do that is by building a culture of militancy from the ground up. Solidarity, exercised in the form of direct action, is our most powerful weapon against the ruling class. Those facing job losses need picket lines, not press statements.