Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Unite to ballot on action in Barclays

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Unite, the union which represents 25,000 staff in Barclays, has announced that it is to ballot its members on industrial action over Barclays’ recent decision to close its defined benefit scheme to existing members in respect of future service (blogged here).

A consultative ballot of Barclays staff produced a majority of over 90% wanting to be balloted on taking industrial action over the closure, and Unite clearly sees the full ballot for industrial action not only as likely to be won – with any subsequent action taking place during September – but also as sending a clear signal of the union’s intent to take a stand:

The forthcoming ballot within Barclays will send a strong message to private sector employers across the economy. Unite will not accept businesses using the economic downturn as a means to erode the important terms and conditions of members.

Unite said that it had produced ‘viable alternatives’ to make the cost savings that the company had sought which it argued would make the scheme viable but that the company had refused to engage with it.

Barclays, whose Annual General Meeting is to take place on 6 August, made a pre-tax profit of £6.1bn in 2008 and, although this was a decline on the 2007 figure, the £1.4bn pre-tax profit in its UK retail banking arm represented a 7% increase on the 2007 position. Marcus Agier, group Chair, commented:

In a very difficult economic environment in 2008, Barclays has steered a course that has enabled us to be solidly profitable despite strong headwinds. We are well positioned to maintain Barclays competitive strengths through the undoubted challenges that will come in 2009 and beyond.

Pre-tax profits in retail banking were a lot lower in the first three months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, owing to charges in respect of bad loans, but group overall pre-tax profits were significantly ahead: £1.4bn compared to £1.2bn – a rise of 15%.

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Written by Calvin

17/07/2009 at 4:30 pm

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