Staff at the Bank of England will begin voting on Thursday on whether to hold a strike this year in protest at below-inflation pay rises, union sources told Reuters. Saskia O'Donoghue reports.
Bank of England staff are voting on whether to strike over pay - Reuters can exclusively reveal. The Unite union launching a ballot on Thursday consulting its members on industrial action. SOUNDBITE (English) ANDY BRUCE, REUTERS UK ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "They've been offered a one percent pay rise for this year, and say it's the second year in a row where their pay offer has been below inflation. They've called the Bank of England arrogant and out of touch over this." The union hasn't announced what it's requesting...at least not publicly. But will be hoping the bank returns an improved offer. Unite represents some employees who work in security, catering, legal, HR and other services. Industrial disputes at the 323-year old bank are rare. And while the fallout from any action wouldn't impact its operation significantly.... SOUNDBITE (English) ANDY BRUCE, REUTERS UK ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "It is embarrassing for them. They've placed a lot of their economic forecasting on wage growth, they expect to see a big pickup next year. So some of the Bank of England employees might be asking if you're expecting a big pickup of wages next year, maybe you should be the ones to start doing it" The dispute is in some ways symptomatic of what's going on with companies in the public sector around Britain. With inflation rising fast, companies are finding it hard to keep up in terms of pay. The Bank has declined to comment on the potential strike action. But will surely be closely monitoring the outcome of the ballot when it closes in three weeks time. If members vote in favour, strike action could begin in the summer or autumn.