HSBC bank faces industrial unrest as pay talks collapse

HSBC bank could face a wave of strikes across its UK branches and call centres after negotiations over a pay dispute failed.

Senior representatives of Amicus, the UK’s biggest private-sector union, have held a ‘council of war’ to plan a series of one-day strikes, with the first one to fall on the day of the bank’s annual shareholder meeting on 27 May.

Ballot papers are due to arrive on 20 April, the same day staff receive their monthly payslips. The union plans to hand out leaflets to the bank’s customers to explain the action.

Amicus claims that of 25,000 staff covered by its negotiated pay arrangements, up to 10% will get no pay rise at all this year and a further 40% will get below-inflation rises and a cut in their bonuses. It highlighted the fact that the average annual pay for a cashier is only £12,500.

Michael Geoghegan, the head of HSBC’s UK arm, has said that 70% of staff would get pay rises of above 3.5% and less than 2,000 would get no increase.

The bank said it was spending £162m on clerical and management pay rises and bonuses, and that seven out of 10 clerical staff would get a bonus of more than 10% of annual salary. It claimed two-thirds of staff earn more than the industry average in the UK.

Amicus first threatened strike action last month, on the day HSBC unveiled record profits of £9.1bn, the best results ever reported by a UK-based bank.

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