Bank of England begin 3-day strike

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Bank of England workers began their first strike for fifty years yesterday morning
Bank of England workers began their first strike for fifty years yesterday morning

STAFF at the Bank of England kicked off their three-day strike yesterday with a big picket and demonstration addressed by Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

This is the first time in 50 years that the BofE have had a strike, and although the action involves around two per cent of the 4,000 strong workforce it renders the Bank ‘effectively inoperable’, the union Unite said.

Addressing the strikers McDonnell said: ‘What the governor of the Bank of England is asking for, this year again, is for people to accept another pay cut and that might be alright if you are on £150,000 or £200,000 or whatever the governor is on these days. That might be alright for super rich, it might be alright for the wealthy, but it isn’t alright for people who are just trying to get by.’

Bank staff were wearing masks of Mark Carney, governor of the BofE, and held placards and flags reading – ‘Bank of England staff want fair pay’. On the picket line outside Unite regional officer Mercedes Sanchez told News Line: ‘The Bank will be increasing its total pay bill by one per cent.

‘But managers will be deciding which workers will get the one per cent with 30 per cent of staff not even getting that. The strike is well supported with 70 per cent of three departments being affected.’

Unite London and Eastern regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said: ‘The governor of the Bank of England must take responsibility for the fact that his dedicated workforce is today having to make their concerns heard from a picket line. 

‘The result of the Bank’s failure to negotiate with staff is that the BofE now faces its first strike action in over 50 years.  Unite members from the maintenance, parlours and security departments have been left with no choice but to take industrial action because they are facing another year of having to endure a pay cut imposed upon them.

‘Mark Carney should come to the picket lines outside this iconic British bank today and explain why hardworking men and women deserve to face years of pay cuts. They are struggling to pay their bills and feed their families because the Bank has unjustly imposed a below inflation or zero pay rise.

‘Unite is calling on the BofE to come back to the negotiating table to discuss a fair pay deal for the employees. Unite is prepared to talk and to reach a fair settlement.’