Barclays' Christmas strike

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Staff at Barclays Bank are to strike on Christmas Eve as part of their six-month old dispute over the imposition of a performance-related pay system. The Banking Insurance and Finance Union and UNiFI, the Barclays staff union, said they expected 20,000 workers to walk out causing "absolute chaos" - although management claimed that only 2,000 joined the last stoppage. Both unions said the Christmas strike would lead to a total breakdown of the Barclaycard authorisation service.

Employees' leaders said staff were "increasingly frustrated" over Barclays' refusal to enter fresh talks and by it replacing a 2.5 per cent Christmas bonus with a performance-related sum payable in April. A Barclays spokeswoman said the bank was disappointed the unions had decided to strike for a fourth day, given the "low level" of support for previous stoppages.