Bank of England faces first strike in five decades over pay dispute

Bank of England

Unite members say they hope to make City institution ‘effectively inoperable’ with four-day industrial action.

The Bank of England faces the first strike at its Threadneedle Street headquarters in its history after members of the Unite union voted for four days of industrial action in a dispute over pay, The Guardian reports.

Maintenance, security and the staff that look after the parlours – the central core of the Bank that contains the office of the governor, Mark Carney – will be striking for four consecutive days from 31 July.

Although the action involves less than 2 per cent of the Bank’s 4,000-strong workforce, Unite said the threatened strike would make the institution “effectively inoperable”.

A Bank spokeswoman said talks to avert the action would take place but there were plans to ensure that the Bank continued to operate effectively.

She added that Threadneedle Street, in the heart of the City of London, had never witnessed a strike, with the last industrial action affecting the Bank taking place at its printing plant in Essex in the late 1960s.

Unite said the dispute has been caused by the imposition of a 1 per cent increase in the pay pot for the year from March. The union said the amount an individual would receive was at the discretion of line managers, so that employees could receive less than 1 per cent and some no rise at all. It balloted 84 members, of whom 95 per cent voted for the strike.

The Unite regional officer Mercedes Sanchez said: “Staff at the Bank of England have made their anger clear by voting for strike action due to their employer’s outright refusal to negotiate a fair pay deal for its workforce.”

The union warned that if the Bank failed to resolve the pay row it would consult its members across other departments as part of a plan to escalate the dispute.

A Bank of England spokeswoman said: “Should the strike go ahead, the Bank has plans in place so that all sites can continue to operate effectively.”