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‘Left with no choice’

First Bank of England strike in 50 years
Hajera Blagg, Tuesday, August 1st, 2017


After last-ditch talks to resolve a pay dispute failed yesterday, strike action at the Bank of England resumed today (August 1).

 

The strike will continue on Wednesday (August 2) and Thursday (August 3) in what is the first strike at the Bank of England in 50 years and the first ever strike at the Bank’s headquarters.

 

Putting forward their case for a fair pay rise, Unite members held a demonstration outside the Bank of England headquarters in London today (August 1).

 

Protestors wearing Bank of England governor Mark Carney masks and holding placards demanding fair pay gathered outside Threadneedle Street, where they were joined by shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail (pictured), among others.

 

Unite members working for the Bank of England in maintenance, parlours and security departments voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action after being offered a meagre, below-inflation 1 per cent rise in the total pay pot in the year to March.

 

Because pay increases for individual workers are at line managers’ discretion, Unite has argued that some members may receive less than a one per cent pay rise, or indeed no pay rise at all.

 

Unite estimates that up to one third of the workforce will not receive any pay rise.

 

Unite London and Eastern regional secretary Peter Kavanagh called on Carney to personally intervene.

 

“The Governor of the Bank of England must take responsibility for the fact that his dedicated workforce is today having to make their concerns heard from a picket line,” he said.

 

“The result of the bank’s failure to negotiate with staff is that the Bank of England now faces its first strike action in over 50 years.

 

“Unite members from the maintenance, parlours and security departments have been left with no choice but to take industrial action because they are facing another year of having to endure a pay cut imposed upon them.

 

“Mark Carney should come to the picket lines outside this iconic British bank today and explain why hardworking men and women deserve to face years of pay cuts,” he added. “They are struggling to pay their bills and feed their families because the bank has unjustly imposed a below inflation or zero pay rise.

 

“Unite is calling on the Bank of England to come back to the negotiating table to discuss a fair pay deal for the employees. Unite is prepared to talk and to reach a fair settlement.”

 

Unite regional officer Mercedes Sanchez explained that the bank’s intransigence toward staff pay will threaten its ability to operate as the strike this week unfolds.

 

“The result of the bank’s unwillingness to negotiate fair pay will be that the bank’s sites, including the iconic Threadneedle Street in the city of London will effectively be inoperable without the maintenance, parlours and security staff,” Sanchez said.

 

“Mark Carney needs to get his own house in order,” she added. “It is nothing short of shameful that the iconic symbol of financial services in the UK is choosing to ride roughshod over the concerns of its dedicated and hardworking staff and impose this derisory pay deal. The governor can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening on his own patch.”

 

Follow the strike on Twitter using hashtag #BankStrike.

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