Bank of England staff in uproar as woke Governor Andrew Bailey says: You can work from home ALL WEEK
- Governor Andrew Bailey has told workers they will not be compelled to return
- Move angered City workers who say they’re losing dealmaking and networking
- Comes despite Mr Sunak championing a desire for people to return to the office
Despite calls by Mr Sunak for people to return to traditional working patterns, Governor Andrew Bailey has told workers they will not be compelled to abandon their working from home habits.
The move has angered many City workers – including some frustrated staff at the Bank of England – who argue that they are losing dealmaking and networking opportunities, with younger workers missing out on mentoring by their more experienced colleagues.
Mr Bailey, who took up his post last year, had originally said that staff at the Bank would be expected to adopt a ‘hybrid’ working model
Even the Bank of England itself has warned about the long-term effects of home working
Mr Bailey, who took up his post last year, had originally said that staff at the Bank would be expected to adopt a ‘hybrid’ working model, coming into its Threadneedle Street offices one day a week and participating in meetings remotely from home the rest of the time.
But last week his workers were told that attendance even just one day a week would not be enforced.
Woke City chief who got the top job because he was a ‘safe pair of hands’
The Governor of the Bank of England was seen as the ‘safe pair of hands’ candidate when appointed to succeed the more limelight-loving Mark Carney.
But in his first year in the job, Andrew Bailey has caused his fair share of divisive headlines. This summer the Bank was accused of taking part in a ‘bonfire of the vanities’ after removing portraits of governors and directors who had links to the slave trade.
Months into his time as Governor, the Bank launched a review of its past, with Bailey saying last year: ‘Black Lives Matter… shines a light on a part of history that we don’t celebrate.’
Until his appointment as Governor, Mr Bailey served as the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, the City regulator, since 2016. Before that he had 30 years of experience at the Bank of England, including as Chief Cashier – which meant his signature was on banknotes. During the financial crisis, Mr Bailey, 62, played a key role in efforts to rescue the UK’s banks.
He attended Wyggeston Boys’ grammar school in Leicester, going on to read history at Cambridge University, where he chaired the Left-leaning Fabian Society.
Graduating with a First, he went on to gain a PhD in economic history, and joined the Bank of England shortly after, in 1985.
He was announced as the next Governor in December 2019 by then-Chancellor Sajid Javid, for an eight-year term on a £495,000 a year salary.
The move comes despite Mr Sunak championing a desire for people to return to the office, praising ‘the spontaneity, the team-building, the culture that you create in a firm or an organisation from people actually spending physical time together’.
Even the Bank of England itself has warned about the long-term effects of home working.
Last year, Mr Bailey told MPs at the height of the pandemic that he was worried about the impact on the economy and the Bank’s then-chief economist Andy Haldane said he feared that it could dampen creativity and productivity.
One City worker said: ‘While the big banks are trying to entice their staff back to the office, Threadneedle Street, which should be setting an example, seems to have thrown in the towel. Its all very well for established staff in their 40s and 50s with homes in the country, but unfair on younger workers trying to build a career.
‘If you don’t force people to come in, most people won’t bother’.
In an attempt to persuade staff to return, businesses are offering bonuses, yoga classes, free meals and even ‘return to work’ celebrations. It was reported yesterday that the accountancy firm PWC is offering cash bonuses for its entire 22,000-strong staff, with the suggestion they should spend it on ‘new office clothes’ or ‘a bike for commuting’.
Firms including Slaughter and May and Goldman Sachs are offering free meals, while Boston Consulting Group is offering a talk by international rugby referee Nigel Owens for its office-based staff.
Mr Sunak has been dismayed by the slow pace of the return to normal patterns in business and across the civil service; a number of Government departments, including his own Treasury, have posted job adverts which suggest that home working could become permanent.
The Chancellor warned that offices which shut down risked losing good staff who will ‘vote with their feet’ and leave.
Earlier this year the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, called remote working an ‘aberration’ that needed to be corrected ‘as soon as possible’.
The Bank of England has built a network of 250 ‘digital ninjas’ – staff who help colleagues to use new technologies to work from home.
A Bank spokesman declined to comment last night.