Long Read  

Will the FCA strike affect its work?

 

“This means that firms are in limbo to a degree, with waiting for FCA responses hanging over them.”

The FCA has said it is hiring more staff and making certain processes digital to tackle backlogs.

Alistair Cunningham, director at Wingate Financial Planning, says: “Given most times we have a request to the FCA it’s a matter that takes some number of months to reply, I would not see an immediate impact to us through the strike.”

Pay offer

As part of the FCA’s offer, around 800 of the regulator’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. These increases, the regulator says, come with higher pension contributions and flexible benefits. 

Additionally, colleagues who meet their performance targets will receive salary increases of at least 5 per cent this year and 4 per cent in 2023. 

Staff who hit their performance objectives would have received a one-off, back-dated cash payment equivalent to 4 per cent of salary in April in recognition of the changed economic environment since the consultation was launched in September last year.

The average base pay rise for colleagues this year will be around 7 per cent and almost 13 per cent over the next two years.

Meanwhile, discretionary cash bonuses will be removed for all staff from next year, with the final bonuses paid to the highest-performing FCA colleagues last month.

On the strike action, Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, says: "Unite members at the FCA must be congratulated for taking a stand against the disgraceful actions of the management under the leadership of the chief executive Nikhil Rathi."

Graham adds: “The imposition of changes to pay, terms and conditions at the FCA has left thousands of staff worse off. Management’s ludicrous claims that the changes will boost worker productivity has only added insult to injury.”

An FCA spokesman says: “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. 

 

“We acknowledge the result of the ballot of Unite members, and respect colleagues’ votes and their strength of feeling about some of the changes we have made.”

Anne Sammon, employment expert and partner at Pinsent Masons, says while the discretionary performance bonus scheme is often valued by employees, there can be challenges in operating it because it can result in disputes where employees feel that their contributions are under-valued relative to those of their colleagues. Meanwhile, the culture of a company can affect the way disputes are managed.