By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) - British labour union Unite has given the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) 10 days to recognise it, saying staff at the watchdog are flooding to join as a major internal shake-up is underway.
Unite said calls by FCA staff to form a branch at the body coincide with an FCA consultation on changes to pay and grading as the watchdog's CEO Nikhil Rathi plans sweeping change.
Official recognition by the FCA would allow Unite to negotiate pay and represent employees.
"The FCA management cannot any longer stick their heads in the sand and ignore the anger within their workforce," Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement.
"It is time for them to recognise Unite as the representative of staff in the FCA."
Following the formal request for voluntary recognition, the FCA is required by law to respond within 10 working days, or the union can apply to the Central Arbitration Committee for recognition, Unite said.
"Our colleagues have always had a choice about how they are represented and some are members of a trade union. There is a statutory process for a trade union seeking recognition," the FCA said in a statement.
Rathi has revamped his leadership team after a damning report into the watchdog's handling of London Capital & Finance, an investment firm that collapsed.
The finance ministry had to step in to provide millions of taxpayer cash to compensate investors who lost out at LCF, details of which were released on Wednesday.
The FCA's chair Charles Randell has also announced he is stepping down early.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)