Financial Conduct Authority  

‘All eyes on FCA’ says Unite amid appeal rejection

‘All eyes on FCA’ says Unite amid appeal rejection

Unite has said all eyes will be on the Financial Conduct Authority to see whether the regulator "will hold a free vote on union recognition" after Unite had its appeal to be the official union rejected.

Unite, the union which represents staff at the regulator, submitted an application to the independent Central Arbitration Committee (Cac) on December 17, asking for it to be recognised as the Financial Conduct Authority’s official union, specifically for collective bargaining on behalf of the regulator’s staff.

This would allow Unite to represent the FCA's staff in negotiations and have control over collective bargaining.

However, in the Cac’s findings published today (May 10), it rejected Unite’s request as it did not feel the majority of the FCA staff would be in favour of the union’s recognition.

“An application is not admissible unless the panel decides that a majority of the workers constituting the proposed bargaining unit would be likely to favour recognition of the union as entitled to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the bargaining unit,” the Cac said.

But a Unite spokesperson said the statement from the Cac changes nothing for Unite or staff at the FCA. 

“Unite knew from the outset that the Cac process is not a favourable one for trade unions making the case for workplace recognition.

“Unite members at the regulator will continue their industrial action to make their employer listen to their concern and ensure the FCA is the best employer it can be. All eyes are now on FCA management to see if they will hold a free vote on union recognition. Unite will be considering the next steps.”

In its application to the Cac, Unite said it made two requests for recognition to the employer. In one the union explained that the employer had declined its offer to enter voluntary discussions concerning recognition.

An FCA spokesperson said:  “We said that the statutory process for recognition conducted through the independent Central Arbitration Committee was the best way of assessing the views of all colleagues on collective bargaining.

“Following the Cac’s decision, we want to have an open conversation with all our colleagues about how their voice is represented - listening and responding to the diverse range of views and opinions we're proud of at the FCA.”

When asked for its reasons for selecting its proposed bargaining unit, Unite said although some heads of department were members of the union, it was aware that some were in another union who, it believed, had previously been seeking to organise. 

The Cac said in order for an application to be admissible, the panel must decide that members of the union constitute at least 10 per cent of the workers in the proposed bargaining unit. 

The membership check by Cac’s case manager found that 15.18 per cent of the workers in the proposed bargaining unit were members of the union. 

Although the panel was satisfied that this check was conducted properly, it still rejected the application due to a lack of evidence and some discrepancies in Unite’s submission of data.