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Barclays unions vote for strike on performance-linked pay

Staff at Barclays voted narrowly in favour of strike action yesterday following the failure of a limited work to rule to bring management to the negotiating table. Around 40,000 of Barclays 50,000 staff could take action after a combined UNiFI and BIFU motion was approved.

The unions have taken the ballot result to Barclays management in a bid to get them to change a planned performance-related pay scheme that they warn could leave 25,000 staff with no pay increase next year. Seven days notice must be given of any strike action and it must be taken within 21 days of the ballot.

According to BIFU, Barclays, which made profits of pounds 1.4bn in the first six months of the year, is "neglecting its social and moral responsibilities towards its staff." The three-week ban on overtime was in protest at the pay proposals, which the unions claimed had cut opening hours and affected computer work. At issue is a new pay and grading structure introduced on 1 July which replaced the previous system of across the board pay increases with a new regime of performance and market-related pay rises.

Barclays has disputed the unions' claim that the new system amounts to a pay freeze. According to the bank, all staff will get a pay rise next year and the proposed changes could actually end up costing more.

Barclays has refused to return to negotiations, saying it underwent five months of negotiations before announcing its new deal.

Yesterday's ballot saw around 35 per cent of both UNiFI and BIFU unions turn out to vote, with 51 per cent of UNiFI voting in favour of strike action and 55 per cent of BIFU.

The vote followed a previous ballot, in which UNiFI voted against strike action but for limited industrial action.