Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA staff votes in favour of strike action

FCA staff votes in favour of strike action

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Unite members have voted ‘yes’ in support of industrial action against the regulator's proposed cuts to pay and conditions.

In an update today (February 1), Unite, the union which represents staff at the regulator, said members voted by 87 per cent in favour of strike action in its non-binding ballot, which closed on January 31.

The union said unless a negotiated settlement is reached, Unite can now proceed to a full industrial action ballot. 

Key concerns by staff included the loss of routine payments labelled ‘bonuses’ which represents 10 to 12 per cent of salary, the narrowing of pay bands, lower pay bands for Scottish staff, cuts affecting graduate trainees, and a threat of future cuts to pensions.

Other concerns by members included a perceived unfair appraisal system and a high level of pay inequality, which Unite said was “unusually high by the standards of public sector regulators”. 

The union claimed that while pay bands for most staff were being squeezed, those for senior managers were being uprated.

Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, said: “The employees are telling FCA bosses that the proposed changes are damaging and destroying any remaining goodwill the staff had. It is time for the FCA management to come to the negotiating table and ensure they avoid damaging the important work of the regulator."

Unite said the cuts, championed by CEO Nikhil Rathi, threatened to damage the interests of savers, borrowers and businesses by creating a bargain basement regulator.

The regulator is currently consulting on changes its employment package.

An FCA spokesperson said: “The proposals in the consultation would ensure the FCA continues to provide one of the best, if not the best, employment packages of any regulator or enforcement agency in the UK. 

“Under the proposals, most colleagues will receive base salary rises of at least 5 per cent this year and 4 per cent next, with many receiving significantly higher amounts.

“In particular, around 800 of our lowest paid colleagues would receive pay rises this year of, on average, £3,800. We have undertaken significant consultation with our colleagues on these proposed changes and expect to publish the outcome by March, following consideration by the FCA board.”

Unite members said the FCA needs to reform its operations in order to provide the most effective service to consumers and businesses. 

It said the proposals imposed “heavy cuts on ordinary staff” while avoiding deeper structural reforms which might be uncomfortable for senior management.

Unite said the next step will be to hold a formal statutory ballot if the FCA refuses to come to the negotiating table. 

The union has approached the mediation service Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

sonia.rach@ft.com

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