`Intimidation' cools Barclays strike

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The Independent Online
Bank union leaders accused Barclays management of using "intimidatory tactics" against their members after fewer branches closed in a walkout yesterday compared with previous strikes.

The Banking Insurance and Finance Union said that some members were going to work in tears after being warned by the bank that they would lose their jobs if they obeyed the strike call.

Barclays calculated that 99 branches were closed compared with more than 200 in two previous stoppages. A spokesman for management estimated that only 2,000 employees had walked out.

The company said it was pleased more staff had decided to work normally. The spokesman said only nine branches had closed in Wales compared with 40 last time.

Jim Lowe, assistant secretary at BIFU, reported "widespread disruption" with closures on Merseyside, Manchester, South Wales, Yorkshire, London and parts of the South-east.

Members of both BIFU and the Barclays staff union UNiFI are protesting over the imposition of a performance-related pay system which they believe will mean a pay freeze for 25,000 employees. Management insists that the proposed pay structure is fairer and will reward hard work.

- Barrie Clement, Labour Editor