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Will FCA staff be the next to go on strike?

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The Unite union has written a 'Dear CEO' letter to Nikhil Rathi after a survey of its members working at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that more than half of them were actively looking to leave the regulator.

In a letter sent to the FCA’s CEO Nikhil Rathi earlier this week, the Unite union warned of “widespread anger amid management’s refusal to discuss pay and staff morale with workers”.

The letter noted the findings of a survey of union-affiliated staff, conducted in January 2023, which revealed dissatisfaction and frustration among employees with more than half (57%) considering leaving their jobs as a result of recent decisions on pay.

Other key findings included 87% of staff saying they were dissatisfied with the ‘employee offer’ of a 4.5% pay deal; 60% not knowing how their pay will be determined this year despite promises of greater transparency; and 88% asking for a pay uplift at least in line with inflation.

Serious questions for the FCA to answer

Responding to the findings of the survey, Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: “Unite’s survey makes it clear that on Nikhil Rathi’s watch there is a serious staffing crisis at the FCA.

“When 97% of the survey participants report facing financial strain, the imposition of a 4.5% pay deal is intolerable.

“The exodus of experienced staff from the FCA is pushing the regulator towards breaking point. There are now serious questions about the FCA’s ability to keep consumers safe. On the current trajectory, the public can no longer have confidence in the FCA’s ability to deliver in the public interest.

“Management must reconsider the imposition of this pay offer. Without meaningful discussions with Unite the regulator will continue to lose committed staff, leaving those who remain facing extreme challenges.”

Will staff take to the picket lines again?

The FCA said: “We continue to provide one of the best overall employment packages of any other regulator or enforcement agency in the UK.

“We attract a high calibre of talent, and we’ve successfully recruited more than 1,000 new colleagues over the last 12 months as our headcount grows to meet an expanding remit.”

If the union does ballot for strike action, it will be only the second time that staff at the regulator have taken to the picket lines. In May 2022, members of Unite at the FCA took industrial action for the first time in the regulator’s history.

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