* Part-nationalised bank adds to 20,000 previous job cuts
* To cut 2,000 RBS Insurance jobs to streamline business
(Adds union comment, more detail)
LONDON, May 10 Part-nationalised Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS.L) is cutting 2,600 jobs in its insurance and
British retail banking operations, adding to 20,000 layoffs
since the start of the financial crisis.
RBS, 83 percent owned by the state, said 2,000 of the jobs
would be cut in its insurance operations, which include
Britain's largest motor insurer Direct Line, along with brands
Churchill and Green Flag, and currently employ 16,000 people.
European regulators are forcing RBS to sell a string of
assets including its insurance arm by 2013, as a cost for taking
billions of pounds in taxpayer bailouts. The layoffs accelerate
cost-cutting at the insurance unit before its sale or flotation.
RBS, which is also selling 318 branches as part of the EU's
remedy requirements, is cutting 600 jobs from its retail banking
head office operations.
The bank, which employs 160,000 people worldwide, said the
cuts would take effect over the next year and affect staff at
sites across the country. Up to 500 of the insurance back office
jobs could go offshore.
"We are working hard to rebuild RBS in order to repay
taxpayers for their support and having to cut jobs is the most
difficult part of this process," the bank said in a statement,
adding it will aim to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
RBS's 20,000 layoffs since being hit by the financial crisis
include 14,000 in Britain. Fewer than one in four of the cuts
have been forced redundancies, it said.
Unite, Britain's largest union, said it would oppose
offshoring as well as any compulsory redundancies.
"Taken together, this is a devastating blow for a dedicated
workforce which has worked very hard to turn around the fortunes
of RBS following some disastrous decisions by the previous
management," Unite's Rob MacGregor said.
(Reporting by Steve Slater and Clara Ferreira-Marques; Editing
by Dan Lalor)