Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA staff strike ‘on pause’ pending further talks

FCA staff strike ‘on pause’ pending further talks
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Unite, the union representing rights of employees at the Financial Conduct Authority, has put a scheduled two-day strike “on pause”.

The union did have a mandate to continue industrial action until the end of October, but now says it has “secured a route to union recognition” making strike action - which it described as a “last resort” - unnecessary.

In a note on its website, the union said: “Following extensive consultation with colleagues and Unite HQ, pausing industrial action now seems the best way for us to move forward with the next stage of the campaign in a constructive and collaborative manner to achieve our aims.”

The union told all FCA staff members to work normally from June 27 onwards, including on previously assigned strike days July 5 and 6.

In April, three quarters (75 per cent) of FCA staff with Unite memberships voted in favour of the action against the regulator over disputes around changes to pay and conditions, with 90 per cent voting to support industrial action short of strike action.

The FCA employs some 4,000 people. Unite says around 700 employees are Unite members, while the FCA says this figure is closer to 600.

“This figure [700] is hugely significant as this time last year there were a fraction of that membership,” a Unite spokesperson told FTAdviser.

“There has been a complete loss of trust and morale across the workforce. They feel unheard and the refusal of management to engage with an independent trade union has brought the FCA to its knees.”

The FCA has said it offers “competitive pay” for its staff. Chief executive Nikhil Rathi saying earlier this year he remains optimistic about the regulator’s future because “I will never stop listening”.

The Central Arbitration Committee, an independent body, also considered Unite’s application to be recognised for collective bargaining purposes by the FCA, but this was turned down in May.

On May 4 and 5, FCA staff went on strike outside the regulator’s London and Edinburgh offices, with many more taking part remotely. FTAdviser understands around 240 FCA staff walked out.

In London, strikers held placards, flags and leaflets urging the FCA to listen to its staff. They held signs reading ‘FCA don’t take our pay’ and ‘FCA staff ignored too long’.

A further strike took place on June 9 and 10 with the third set of walkouts due to happen this week.

A spokesperson for the FCA said today the regulator had been notified that Unite has suspended industrial action and confirmed strike action planned for July 5 and 6 will not now take place.

“While we’re of course pleased that industrial action has been suspended, we respect the strength of feeling expressed by colleagues involved,” they added.

“We look forward now to an open conversation with all our colleagues about how their voice is heard so we can take account of and respond to the diverse range of views we’re proud of at the FCA.”