Staff at British financial watchdog vote on industrial action

Staff at British financial watchdog vote on industrial action
By Reuters
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By Huw Jones

LONDON -British labour union Unite said on Monday it is holding an indicative ballot of members over industrial action at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Unite said in a statement that the FCA, which regulates financial markets in Britain, plans sharp cuts to staff pay. The FCA, which has had no previous cases of industrial action by its staff, has said nobody would have their basic pay cut.

“Unite members will today began voting in a ballot called by the union as management has refused to negotiate with the workforce on a programme of severe cost-cutting, which is set to turn the FCA into ‘a bargain basement’ regulator,” Unite said.

Unite is also challenging the FCA on its refusal to allow staff to have representation by an independent labour union.

The FCA said its pay and reward proposals would ensure it continues to provide one of the best employment packages of any regulator or enforcement agency in Britain.

“Our proposals focus on those paid the least, with 800 colleagues below manager-level in line for salary increases of, on average, 3,800 pounds ($5,129),” an FCA spokesperson said.

“We are now carefully considering the feedback received during our extensive consultation with colleagues with the aim of announcing the outcome by March,” the FCA said.

Unite said experienced employees have been quitting the regulator in droves with more expected to follow, with only a “small proportion” of the lowest paid staff receiving pay rises.

Trade unions are recognised at the Bank of England and the Pensions Regulator, it added.

The FCA is undergoing major internal changes under CEO Nikhil Rathi, who has revamped his executive team after an independent review said the watchdog botched the supervision of now collapsed investment company London Capital & Finance

($1 = 0.7408 pounds)

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