Staff at FCA prepare for second wave of strike action as FoI requests exposes a “deep crisis”
- Thursday 9 June 2022
Freedom of Information (FoI) requests lodged by Unite has revealed that 1,000 employees have left the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since CEO, Nikhil Rathi took office in October 2020, prompting the union to warn of a deep crisis at the regulator.
The news comes as Unite members prepare to stage a second wave of strike action in London and Edinburgh for two days beginning on Thursday (9 June).Unite says the FCA is in crisis and is haemorrhaging staff. It can no longerx claim to be an effective or reliable regulator.
Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary said: “The FCA is in a deep crisis but it’s a crisis of its own making. Unite is determined that this workforce does not pay the price for appalling management decisions, which is why our members are taking strike action because they want to be represented by their union.
“The FCA can restore confidence if it chooses to. It is very simple: they can work with Unite to improve pay, terms and conditions and, accept the desire of this workforce to be represented by our union, or they can face ongoing strike action.
“One thing is certain, Unite’s members at the FCA have their union’s unwavering support in this fight for respect and representation.”
Unite members in the FCA have gained significant political support from the Labour Party front bench. This includes: Rachel Reeves - Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Angela Rayner - Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancasterand Tulip Siddiq - Shadow Treasury Minister. Senior political figures intend to join the London picket lines to express concerns about the lack of trade union recognition at the regulator (The message from the Shadow Chancellor can be seen in the notes to editor).
Unite is clear that both the industrial action and the work to rule have had a significant impact on the ability of the FCA to conduct its regulatory responsibilities and is damaging the standing of the organisation. Unite continues to urge the FCA to sit down with Unite workplace representatives and ensure the issues facing the employees are fairly resolved.
This latest round of strike action will last for two days because of management’s continued refusal to have meaningful discussions with their workforce about their concerns. Staff across the regulator have been ‘working to rule’ since May. Therefore the workforce have withdrawn the regular overtime and additional work they currently do outside of their contractual duties.
Unite has also made it clear to management it will meet through ACAS to resolve the dispute.
To mark the start of the strike FCA staff will be outside the FCA head office at 8.30am on Thursday to express their anger at the failure of their employer to address their concerns around pay, terms and conditions and lack of trade union recognition.
There will be a media photo call where FCA strikers will be holding placards, flags and leafletting visitors to the FCA office and members of the public. The message from the workforce will be: “FCA, listen to your staff.” A similar event will be at the FCA’s smaller site in Edinburgh.
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Saba Edwards 07768 693 953.
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Notes to editor
Message of support from Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP
Dear Unite F.C.A. Branch members,
When I was an economist at the Bank of England and Halifax Bank of Scotland I was a proud member of trade unions that are now part of Unite.
I know that Unite has over 100,000 members working in financial services and has recognition agreements with many of the largest financial institutions including Lloyds, Halifax, Santander, NatWest and Barclays.
Given this, I was surprised to learn last year that the F.C.A. does not yet recognise a trade union despite your approaches for a voluntary agreement.
Trade unions play a vital role in ensuring a workforce has a collective voice and tackling issues of concern. Attracting and retaining people is also an important party of any organisation’s success, which is one reason why so many financial institutions have a trade union recognition agreement.
I believe it is important that all public regulators set a good example to the sectors they oversee and that really should include recognising a trade union.
With this in mind, I fully support your efforts to win recognition and with it ensure that workplace issues are constructively addressed.
Thank you for everything you do for the F.C.A. and good luck!
With very best wishes,
Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer