The union which represents staff at the regulator has announced today (Tuesday 1 February) that FCA Unite members have voted by 87% in support of industrial action against proposed cuts to pay and conditions.

Unless a negotiated settlement is reached Unite can now proceed to a full industrial action ballot. The cuts, championed by CEO Nikhil Rathi, threaten to damage the interests of savers, borrowers and businesses by creating a bargain basement regulator.

Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary said: “The employees are telling FCA bosses that the proposed changes are damaging and destroying any remaining goodwill the staff had. It is time for the FCA management to come to the negotiating table and ensure they avoid damaging the important work of the regulator. Unite will sit down and negotiate through ACAS as soon as the FCA agrees; the ball is in FCA’s court now.

“While the proposed cuts at the regulator is good news for fraudsters and rip-off merchants it is bad news for people with savings, loans, mortgages and pensions as experienced and committed staff are being forced out of the door. The new FCA CEO, Nikhil Rathi, should be waging war on malpractice in the financial sector, not on his own staff.”

Unite members agree that the FCA needs to reform its operations in order to provide the most effective possible service to consumers and businesses. But the current proposals impose heavy cuts on ordinary staff while avoiding deeper structural reforms which might be uncomfortable for senior management.

The vote for industrial action came in a non-binding indicative ballot, held from 24 to 31 January. The next step will be to hold a formal statutory ballot if Nikhil Rathi refuses to come to the negotiating table. Unite has approached the mediation service ACAS in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Trade unions are recognised at both the Bank of England and the Pensions Regulator.
2. The Treasury – the sponsoring department of the FCA – is also unionised.
3. Key concerns of staff include:
- A swingeing package of pay cuts, including: the loss of routine payments misleadingly labelled ‘bonuses’ (10-12% 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.
- An unfair appraisal system which requires managers to arbitrarily downgrade employees who are performing well.
- Continuing high levels of pay inequality, which are unusually high by the standards of public sector regulators. Bafflingly, while pay bands for most staff are being ruthlessly squeezed, those for senior managers are being uprated. Already the FCA has around 40 executives who earn more than the Prime Minister.
- Persisting problems with staff leaving and difficulties in recruiting replacements. The FCA has yet to provide a full set of figures showing the scale of this exodus.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Saba Edwards on: 07768 693 953.

Please note the number above is for journalists’ enquiries only. 

Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.