Majority of RBS workers won’t return to the office until next year
ROYAL Bank of Scotland has told more than 50,000 staff they will be working from home until next year in a blow to Boris Johnson’s efforts to get employees back to the office.
The NatWest owner has told the vast majority of its employees that they will continue to do their jobs remotely until at least the end of December.
The bank had initially hoped to start bringing its workers back four months earlier.
Its decision will be viewed with concern in Whitehall, after the Prime Minister said on Friday that staff should try to return to offices next month in a shift away from existing guidance that people should work from home if possible.
Officials are increasingly concerned that town and city centres face ruin unless workers head back in, with cafés, shops, bars and restaurants all struggling to survive.
RBS is 62pc-owned by the taxpayer following a £45bn bailout during the 2008 financial crisis.
A spokesman said: “Like we’ve done throughout the pandemic, the decision has been made carefully, including considering the latest guidance from the UK Government on Friday and our own health and safety standards and procedures.
“It’s a cautious approach but we feel the right one to take currently.”
The bank, which will rebrand as NatWest tomorrow, plans to provide further guidance later this year.
Its latest update covers global operations, but most of those affected are in the UK.
The bank said its approach will differ across jurisdictions as the situation and official advice will differ from country to country.
About 10,000 RBS staff have continued to work in branches and offices during the pandemic, with almost all branches operating reduced hours.
The bank called 400 staff back into offices and call centres in June because strict regulations mean their jobs cannot be carried out from home for long periods. It has imposed social distancing and other measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, including oneway corridors, temperature checks and thermal imaging.
The announcement comes after businesses warned last week that there is unlikely to be a “big bang” on Aug 1, the date when ministers want more workers to return.