The Financial Conduct Authority may soon be a unionised workplace, if trade union activists get their way.
A formal petition has been launched by Unite the union to gauge interest after what the union said was a significant increase in staff at the regulator joining the union.
Staff are said to be unhappy with chief executive Nikhil Rathi’s transformation plans, which they believe will see wages cut but are unlikely to affect the FCA’s leadership team.
Rathi joined the FCA last year from the Treasury with a mandate to turn the regulator into a more proactive, City-friendly, and professional watchdog after a host of scandals under previous leadership.
That includes the FCA’s failure to properly regulate London Capital & Finance, which became known as the minibonds scandal after investors were left high and dry.
Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, said: “Staff across the FCA are joining Unite in unprecedented numbers and want their voices heard.
“The significant growth in trade union membership demonstrates that the recognition of an independent trade union at the FCA is long overdue.”
He added: “Staff at the FCA are demoralised by the consultation launched by the CEO in September and feel it is a poor way to reward FCA staff who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver credit card and mortgage payment holidays that were a lifeline to people up and down the country.”
According to staff, morale has plummeted in recent months, resignations are rising on a daily basis and recruitment is failing to keep up.
Unite members are angered that Mr Rathi, currently paid more than £455,000, has proposed allowing the highest paid FCA staff to be paid more to avoid caps on the tax breaks for the largest pension pot holders.
Formal communication events have attracted waves of criticism, leading to union membership increasing four-fold, Unite said.
The Bank of England and the Pensions Regulator already formally recognise trade unions.