Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA invites trade union reps to sit on internal committee

FCA invites trade union reps to sit on internal committee
Staff at the Financial Conduct Authority during strike action outside the regulator's London offices on May 4, 2022 (Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

The Financial Conduct Authority has proposed to add two union members to its internal staff consultative committee in response to feedback from employees.

The City watchdog told FTAdviser it proposed the changes in mid-December following calls from trade union Unite at the beginning of last month for the FCA to have a ‘staff-led’ action plan.

This action plan included recognising the union, changes to performance, and health benefit contributions scaled to pay.

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Union involvement caught momentum in May last year, when Unite members took part in strike action for the first time over pay and conditions of employment. 

Key concerns included the loss of routine payments labelled ‘bonuses’ which represents 10 to 12 per cent of salary, the narrowing of pay bands, lower pay bands for Scottish staff, cuts affecting graduate trainees, and a threat of future cuts to pensions.

A spokesperson for the FCA told FTAdviser today (January 3): “We’ve undertaken extensive engagement with colleagues about how they want to have their voices heard, with over 900 colleagues participating. 

“We’ve taken account of their rich feedback, and the many varied views, and will be enhancing our staff consultative committee.”

The regulator said it is inviting two trade union staff representatives to join its membership. 

“We are pleased [that] the existing staff consultative committee and both unions will work with us to deliver this enhanced approach to engagement, which takes account of our colleagues’ diverse views.”

A representative from both Unite and FDA, a trade union which specialises in representing managers and professionals in public service, are set to join the committee, according to a post published by Unite.

The post also said Unite members voted, provisionally, to accept the proposed offer of a seat on the new committee and to cooperate with the proposals.

“In cooperating we will hope to achieve the reassurance and transparency colleagues need in order to have confidence that these proposals will be meaningful,” the union said.

In the post, Unite republished its action plan which says the FCA needs to:

  • Recognise Unite the union, stating the FCA is one of the only public bodies not to recognise a union.
  • Pay and reward: Unite said the 4 per cent uplift in base pay made in the ‘offer’ is “now badly out of date” and needs readjusting for inflation.
  • Performance and grading: Judge staff on their actual performance, not on a curve.
  • Transparency and accountability: Unite said staff deserve transparency on how their pay is calculated and said to link director remuneration to diversity, inclusion and staff survey outcomes.
  • Benefits and conditions: Health benefit contributions scaled to pay as the current one-off excess penalises the lowest paid and part-time staff.

The action plan came after Unite wrote to the FCA’s chief executive calling for “greater transparency” on the rationale which sits behind the regulator’s decisions.

Strike action in May 2021 began after three quarters (75 per cent) of Unite union members voted for the first time in favour of industrial action against the FCA over disputes around changes to pay and conditions.

Some 90 per cent voted to support industrial action short of strike action.

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com