Bank of England facilities staff to go on four day strike

The strike is the first of its kind at the Central Bank in some 50 years

A man stands outside the Bank of England in the City of London. (Photograph: Reuters)

A man stands outside the Bank of England in the City of London. (Photograph: Reuters)

 

Bank of England facilities staff voted to go on strike for four days in a dispute over pay in the first action of its kind at the central bank in 50 years, according to a labour union.

Ninety five per cent of Unite’s members in the BOE’s maintenance, security and the governors’ private offices - known as the parlours - backed industrial action between July 31st and August 3rd, it said in an emailed statement. If management fails to resolve the disagreement, Britain’s biggest labour union said it will consult members in other departments at the central bank in an escalation of the plan.

Wages and staff morale have long been issues at the BOE. Governor Mark Carney brought in consultants McKinsey shortly after he joined the institution to help with a revamp, which included a review of pay structures.

The latest row has been caused by the BOE granting weaker-than-inflation salary increases for the past two years, with the overall annual wage bill projected to rise by only 1 per cent from March 2017, according to Unite. Consumer prices rose 2.9 per cent in May from a year earlier.

“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,” said Mercedes Sanchez, a Unite regional officer. “The governor can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening on his own patch.”

As salary increases for employees will be decided individually by line managers, some staff will receive less than 1 per cent and up to a third will get no pay rise at all in 2017, according to Unite. The union called on Carney to personally intervene in the dispute.

The strike will take place in the run up to the BOE releasing its latest quarterly economic forecasts in its Inflation Report on August 3rd.

-(Bloomberg)