LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Workers at the Bank of England could vote to take industrial action this year to register their anger over pay after the central bank offered a below-inflation annual rise, Britain's biggest union said on Thursday.
Unite said its members voted 70 percent in favour of pressing ahead with a more formal vote later in the Spring to decide whether to take industrial action at the 323-year-old bank, which employs around 3,600 people.
Britain has been hit by a wave of strikes in the last year, with train and airline workers resorting to industrial action over issues ranging from pay deals to pensions and the nature of their contracts.
Unite, which represents workers in security, catering, legal, HR and other services at the Bank, said it awarded a 1 percent pay rise for the year starting on April 1 although line managers would have discretion to share out the increase.
Another 0.5 percent rise could also be awarded to those who are under-paid.
The central bank, led by Mark Carney, has a remit to keep inflation at 2 percent which is set to rise above that target after the vote to leave the European Union because of a plunge in the value of the pound. Inflation is currently 1.8 percent.
"What is galling is that this paltry pay offer is well below the rate of inflation and our members have to work, travel and live in one of the world's most expensive cities," Unite regional officer Mercedes Sanchez said in a statement.
"The consultative ballot has given us a strong mandate to proceed to an industrial action ballot which could be held later in the spring. In the meantime, we urge the bank's management to get back around the table and negotiate in a constructive manner."
A spokeswoman for the Bank declined to comment. (Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison)