In a Treasury committee meeting today (March 8), Emma Hardy, a Labour MP, asked FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi whether the regulator had blocked employees’ ability to share links to the Unite union’s website internally.
“We have to be clear in terms of the information that goes round the organisation, for example blogs and posts in chats,” Rathi said.
Can you stop blocking information about trade unionsEmma Hardy, MP
“[We are in] discussions with Unite and other unions to make sure there is a dedicated space on the intranet,” he added.
“There is a discussion going on about [what] the appropriate form of communication should be.”
Hardy pressed Ashley Alder, the new chair of the FCA, to stop blocking this information.
“[Can you] stop blocking information about trade unions?” she asked.
Staff at the FCA have conducted strikes in the past year over changes to pay and conditions of employment.
Unite then criticised the regulator for pushing through a recent employee pay package without consulting staff.
Changes to the regulator's pay structure began last year, amid pressure from industrial action - which marked the first time staff had staged at walkout at the City watchdog.
While Unite has previously tried to become the regulator’s recognised trade union, the FCA said it has not garnered enough support from within the regulator to gain statutory recognition.
The union's survey, conducted in January this year and based on 500 staff responses, suggested 56.7 per cent of the FCA’s staff are now actively looking to leave the regulator.
The regulator has since said it has seen a sustained drop in the number of employees leaving the firm.
In the evidence session today, Alder said around a quarter of the FCA’s workforce had been there less than a year.
“This presents a challenge around training and integration,” he said.
Alder joined the City watchdog last month after more than a decade as the CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong.
He said he had been surprised at the level of confidence in employees around the FCA’s “mission”.
“The FCA has been through a difficult period in terms of staffing…the non-executive directors are focused on staff morale…and are determined to ensure staff engagement is best in class.”
Rathi agreed, saying the regulator had been through a “very difficult” reform progress.
“Public service reform is hard,” he said.