Workers at High Street bank HSBC have voted to strike in a dispute about pay.
Union Amicus said more than two-thirds of votes were cast in favour of a walk-out in protest at a pay deal which, the union said, will lead to a wage cut for thousands of workers.
More than 10,000 workers are expected to strike on Friday May 27, the day of the bank’s annual meeting. The union warned of major disruption and branch closures.
If the strike goes ahead, it will be the first to hit the banking sector in eight years.
Amicus National Secretary, Rob O’ Neill said: “This result is unprecedented for a group of workers who are not naturally predisposed to strike action.
“This is a clear mandate which we hope will send a message to HSBC that they need to return to the negotiating table to avert a potentially damaging strike. The ball is now firmly in HSBC’s court. We are urging HSBC to work with us to resolve this dispute.”
Amicus said it called for strike action after HSBC imposed a below-inflation pay deal and cut staff bonuses, which will leave many worse off than they were last year.
“Out of the HSBC staff covered by the Amicus negotiated pay arrangements, up to 10% will get no pay rise at all this year and a further 45% will get below inflation,” said a release from the union.
“Currently a new starter at HSBC can expect to earn only 28p more than the new minimum wage.”
The bank has also introduced a new bonus scheme which the union believes will be detrimental to most staff but will particularly prejudice longer-serving staff as it will cease to be calculated on salary.
The prospect of closures at HBSC came as further gloomy news for jobs swept through the sector.
Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, part of National Australia Bank, reiterated that they would be axing 1,700 posts within the next 12 to 18 months as they shut 100 of their 449-strong network.
Lloyds TSB meanwhile revealed it was cutting 435 back-office roles from five centres around the country.
The news followed Abbey revealing this week that it would cut another 1,000 jobs on top of 3,000