Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) has pushed ahead with its plan to trim the workforce at its loss-making investment banking arm with over 130 redundancies despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the employees at NatWest Markets received the layoff notices through video call, reported the Financial Times.

The bank has reportedly suspended the majority of its revamp and cost-saving plans.

However, it has decided to continue with its overhaul plan of the investment banking unit despite the Covid-19 outbreak.

The plan was unveiled in February this year under new CEO Alison Rose.

A NatWest Markets spokesperson said: “In line with the strategy we announced in February, NatWest Markets is being refocused into a smaller, simpler business focused on the needs of the group’s core corporate and institutional customers.

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“Following consultation with employee representatives for NatWest Markets, we are progressing this strategy and providing clarity to those colleagues in roles that do not form part of the business going forward.”

The move by RBS is not in line with peers such as Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley as well as Deutsche Bank, all of whom have suspended their overhaul plans due to the Covid-19 uncertainty.

Unite the Union national officer Rob MacGregor criticised the move saying that the revamp should be halted “because we don’t know what the lay of the land will be post crisis”.

MacGregor noted: “For a bank that’s still majority-owned by the British taxpayer, and one that owes the taxpayer more than any other corporate entity in our history, this is not a smart move by the leadership team.”