Barclays has given 35,000 of its branch and junior support staff in the UK a £1,200 (€1,400) pay rise to help them cope with the escalating cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation.
The salary increase will come into effect on August 1st, and brings forward part of the lender’s annual pay review, normally due to come into force in March. The bank indicated it might also boost salaries of staff in other countries in the coming months. “Barclays will continue to monitor the economic situation globally and consider our approach to pay in each country in the local context,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
Barclays and other companies are reacting to consumer prices in the UK rising at the fastest pace in four decades, piling pressure on people struggling to pay their bills. Inflation in the UK reached 9.1 per cent in May, and the Bank of England has forecast that the measure will exceed 11 per cent in the autumn. The pound has also fallen against other major currencies such as the dollar.
Companies are finding that staff are increasingly making demands for higher pay and threatening industrial action if these are not met.
Companies that have raised pay and offered bonuses in recent months include Lloyds Banking Group, EasyJet, British Airways, Rolls-Royce and some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets.
BAE Systems, Britain’s largest defence contractor, is also offering a bonus to its workers as part of a two-year pay deal agreed with unions on Thursday. Some 28,000 employees will vote on the deal worth 12.75 per cent over two years next month. The deal includes a £1,000 bonus for each year.
Unite welcomed the offer from Barclays, saying: “As all employees face significant cost-of-living increases Unite has campaigned to ensure that this bank recognised the need to act.”
However, some other one-off awards have not always been well received by workers. Unions last week criticised a pay offer from Rolls-Royce that included a £2,000 cash lump sum for its 14,000 UK workers to help them through the cost of living crisis. Unite said the offer – which also included a 4 per cent pay rise – “falls a long way short of the cost-of-living crisis claim submitted by our members and their expectations”.
On Thursday employees at BT voted in favour of strike action for the first time in 35 years after the Communication Workers Union accused the telecoms group’s management of introducing a low flat-rate pay rise despite soaring levels of inflation.
Lloyds said last week it would give 64,000 employees, excluding senior managers and executives, a £1,000 one-off payment to help with their household bills. “As the rising cost of living continues to impact our people and our customers, we’ve been assessing the evolving outlook for inflation and considering how we can support you even further,” the lender said at the time. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022