Shadow chancellor and MP Rachel Reeves, alongside other Labour party members, has supported the strike action by staff at the Financial Conduct Authority.
Members of Unite, the union which represents staff at the regulator, began preparing for a second wave of strike action starting today (June 8) outside the FCA’s head office in London and Edinburgh for two days.
Unite said FCA members gained political support from the Labour Party front bench, including shadow chancellor of the exchequer Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Angela Rayner and shadow Treasury minister Tulip Siddiq.
In a letter to the union members, Reeves began referencing her time as an economist at the Bank of England and Halifax Bank of Scotland, when she was “a proud member of trade unions that are now part of Unite”.
She wrote: “I know that Unite has over 100,000 members working in financial services and has recognition agreements with many of the largest financial institutions including Lloyds, Halifax, Santander, NatWest and Barclays.
Given this, I was surprised to learn last year that the FCA does not yet recognise a trade union despite your approaches for a voluntary agreement.
“Trade unions play a vital role in ensuring a workforce has a collective voice and tackling issues of concern. Attracting and retaining people is also an important part of any organisation’s success, which is one reason why so many financial institutions have a trade union recognition agreement.”
Reeves said she believes it is important that all public regulators set a good example to the sectors they oversee and that should include recognising a trade union.
“With this in mind, I fully support your efforts to win recognition and with it ensure that workplace issues are constructively addressed,” she added. “Thank you for everything you do for the FCA and good luck!”
Unite said senior political figures intend to join the London strike to express concerns about the lack of trade union recognition at the regulator.
The union said it is clear that both the industrial action and the work to rule have had a significant impact on the ability of the FCA to conduct its regulatory responsibilities and is damaging the standing of the organisation.
It urged the FCA to sit down with Unite workplace representatives and ensure the issues facing the employees are fairly resolved.
Last month, Unite members took part in the first day of strike action and held placards and flags complaining about changes to pay and conditions of employment.
Unite told FTAdviser at the time it could not confirm the numbers of those striking at this stage as most were still working at home and striking remotely.
It said the numbers on the picket were "just a handful" of those taking action.
Unite said this latest round of strike action will last for two days because of continued refusal from management to have meaningful discussions with their workforce about their concerns.