FCA staff in union recognition fight

FCA staff say they ‘want right to be represented by an independent trade union’

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Unite, the union for finance sector staff, has called on the City regulator to hear the concerns of its workforce as the union sees a significant growth in membership at the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The union has today (October 12) launched a staff petition to secure the right to be formally recognised to represent workers across the organisation – the first time this has happened in the organisation’s history following the massive growth in staff joining the union. This is the latest step by the union after months of growing disenchantment with the FCA’s new leadership team, which has launched a consultation on changes to pay and grading as part of new CEO Nikhil Rathi’s transformation plans.

Staff say the proposals will result in three out of four of them facing having their pay reduced by 10%. However, the changes are unlikely to affect the FCA’s leadership team. Most are new in post, appointed by Rathi, who joined as CEO from the London Stock Exchange less than a year ago.

Unite national officer Dominic Hook said, “Staff across the FCA are joining Unite in unprecedented numbers and want their voices heard. The significant growth in trade union membership demonstrates that the recognition of an independent trade union at the FCA is long overdue.

“Unite is the union for staff across the financial services sector and it is essential for the regulator to ensure that this dedicated workforce have an independent and strong trade union in their corner, rather than simply being ignored by management,” she added.

“Staff at the FCA are demoralised by the consultation launched by the CEO in September and feel it is a poor way to reward FCA staff who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver credit card and mortgage payment holidays that were a lifeline to people up and down the country.”

Staff at the FCA are telling Unite representatives that staff morale has plummeted in recent months. Resignations are rising by the day, with recruitment failing to keep pace with the rate at which people are leaving. Staff also say they cannot believe they are being told that the way to motivate them is to cut their pay, and they are voting with their feet, and above all, they want their collective concerns to be heard through Unite.

Unite members are angered that Mr Rathi, currently paid more than £455,000, has proposed allowing the highest paid FCA staff to be paid more to avoid caps on the tax breaks for the largest pension pot holders.

Mr Rathi’s attempt to communicate the benefits of his ‘Transformation Programme’ have failed to attract the support of staff, where formal communication events have attracted waves of criticism. Staff membership of Unite has more than quadrupled since the plans were announced but the FCA‘s leadership continue to baselessly assert that staff do not want to be represented by a union and have repeatedly refused to ballot their workforce to find out.

Unite has launched a staff petition for independent representation in response to workforce concerns that the proposed consultation changes will be imposed.

By Saba Edwards

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