Trade union alleges that FCA staff outside of London are due to be put on lower pay scales and that abolishing employee bonuses across the workforce will lead to pay cuts of up to 12%

FCA staff who are members of the trade union Unite are voting on whether to undertake strike action amid claims that employee bonuses have been cut.

Unite initiated the ballot of its members working for the regulator on 24 January 2022 – the vote will close on 31 January 2022.

The trade union argued that FCA management is refusing to negotiate with its staff “on a programme of severe cost-cutting, which is set to turn the FCA into a bargain basement regulator”.

Unite reported that FCA employees are set to face pay cuts of up to 12% following bonuses being abolished, despite these payments being viewed by the majority of staff as part of their basic pay.

Furthermore, Unite stated that the FCA’s “management is imposing an unfair appraisal system which requires managers to arbitrarily downgrade a certain number of their employees, even if they are performing strongly”, that “staff outside London are being put on new, lower pay scales” and that there are “further plans to cut staff pension rights in the pipeline”.

These changes have also been subject to a “botched consultation process” in a bid to be implemented quickly, Unite alleged.

However, Unite did acknowledge one plus point as a result of the FCA’s programme of changes – that “a small proportion of the FCA’s lowest paid staff will receive a long overdue pay rise”.

Unite is additionally challenging the FCA on its refusal to allow staff to have representation by an independent trade union – currently, trade unions are recognised at the Bank of England and the Pensions Regulator. The Treasury is also unionised.

‘Bargain basement’ regulation

Dominic Hook, national officer at Unite, said: “The ballot will deliver a clear sense of just how dire workforce morale and employee confidence is within the FCA leadership.

“Management at the FCA are attempting to implement a programme of pay cuts, which has come after two years in which the staff at the FCA have worked gruelling hours to provide financial protection against Covid for borrowers, investors, small businesses and people with mortgages.

“Unite has made it clear that if introduced, these cuts will make it even less likely that the FCA will be able to deliver this high standard of public service in the future.

“Experienced employees have been quitting the regulator in droves. More are expected to follow as in a recent Unite survey, 89.8% of staff described their morale as ‘low’ or ‘very low’.

“You cannot regulate the British financial system on a bargain basement basis as the chief executive Nikhil Rathi clearly wishes to do. Management must enter into immediate negotiations with Unite to avoid further damage and risk to the FCA.”

Insurance Times has contacted the FCA for comment.