'Ignored' FCA staff strike for first time over pay

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'Ignored' FCA staff strike for first time over pay
Staff at the FCA strike over pay and conditions (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)
BySonia Rach

A spokesperson for the FCA said: “Our new employment package is highly competitive, providing fair, competitive pay at all levels and rewards strong, consistent performance. Most colleagues are receiving an average 7 per cent increase in base pay this year and over 12 per cent over the next two years, with an additional one-off cash payment of 4 per cent in May. 

“Our lowest paid and strongest performers will receive more. The changes we have made ensure the FCA’s pay and benefits package remains one of the best, if not the best, of any regulatory or enforcement agency in the UK.   

“The vast majority of colleagues have decided not to strike and we are operating as normal. We acknowledge the decision by Unite members, however, and respect the strength of feeling of some colleagues about changes we have made.”

FTAdviser understands that the regulator has not seen any change today in the number of staff logging onto an FCA device from the office and remotely. 

Numbers are believed to be consistent with typical attendance during similar holiday weeks such as the week after Easter weekend.

As part of the new employment package, around 800 of the FCA’s lowest paid colleagues will receive average salary increases of £4,310 to the minimum of a new pay benchmark, with other salary increases and performance related pay, taking overall increases for them to an average of around £5,500. 

FTAdviser understands some of the regulator’s lowest paid colleagues are receiving 24 per cent base salary increases this year.    

Strike action

The strike action came after three quarters (75 per cent) of Unite union members voted for the first time in favour of industrial action against the FCA over disputes around changes to pay and conditions.

Some 90 per cent voted to support industrial action short of strike action.

FTAdviser understands that only 61 per cent (380) of the 624 Unite members participated in the vote.

The vote followed a non-binding ballot earlier this year in which 87 per cent of members voted for strike action, which paved the way for 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”. 


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