A number of newspapers report that RBS is threatening to discipline employees who refuse to set up accounts with the bank for payment of their salaries. It is standard practice for banks to refuse to pay salaries into accounts held with competitors. It is usually a condition of accepting employment that a new member of staff should set up an account with the bank.
However, according to the Amicus union, most of the employees affected are from companies like Churchill and Direct Line which were taken over by, or merged with, RBS. Enforcing such a condition under a TUPE transfer is a whole different issue. Although RBS has said that staff will be disciplined for non-compliance, it also said that they would not lose their jobs.
Now I’m a bit rusty on TUPE law but I think that the reason RBS isn’t threatening to fire people is because it can’t. The contracts were transferred over from the existing companies and most of the old terms and conditions would have been preserved. If there was a requirement to open RBS accounts, my guess is that this wasn’t explained to the employees during the mergers.
So what is the point of disciplining someone if you can’t sack them? Is it an attempt to scare or humiliate people into changing their bank accounts? If so, it could backfire. RBS will have no sanctions against those employees who dig their heels in and refuse to switch accounts. For the sake of enforcing a corporate rule and getting their hands on their employee’s money, the bank could be left looking very stupid and with expensive damage to its industrial relations.
The RBS site has no statement or comment on this story. If anyone knows more, I’d be interested to understand why RBS has taken this action.