Belfast Telegraph

Bank of England staff mount protest in first strike for more than 50 years

Bank of England workers staged a protest in the City of London at the start of a three-day strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Unite union working in departments including maintenance and security walked out in protest at the imposition of a below-inflation pay rise, blaming Bank governor Mark Carney for the failure of last-ditch talks on Monday.

Around 50 strikers mounted a picket line outside the Bank's head office, wearing Mark Carney masks, and held up placards and flags reading "Bank of England staff want fair pay".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell joined the demonstration, offering his support to the workers.

"All the workforce want is a decent pay rise," he said.

Unite accused the Bank of imposing a "derisory" below-inflation pay increase for the second year running, saying u p to a third of staff will get no rise this year.

Union official Peter Kavanagh said: "The governor of the Bank of England must take responsibility for the fact that his dedicated workforce is having to make their concerns heard from a picket line.

"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 said the strike, the first at the Bank for more than 50 years, was being solidly supported.

A Bank of England spokesman said plans were in place to ensure essential business will continue to operate as normal during the strike.

The Bank said Unite balloted around 2% of the workforce, adding that it remained ready to continue talks at any time.