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NatWest hands staff pay rise to ease impact of soaring inflation

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·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past ATM machines at branch of the NatWest bank in Manchester
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By Sinead Cruise and Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) -British bank NatWest has joined rivals in handing out an unscheduled pay boost to staff to help shield them from soaring price rises, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The state-backed lender has given 22,000 staff in lower paid jobs globally a 1,000 pound ($1,200) raise on average.

In Britain the pay rise is being applied to staff earning a full-time equivalent salary of 32,000 pounds or less and equates to a 4% pay increase, taking effect from September.

A NatWest spokesperson confirmed the contents of the memo.

"We are taking targeted action and awarding a permanent increase to base pay for our lowest paid colleagues across the globe," NatWest CEO Alison Rose said.

Employee union Unite said it welcomed the pay rise, adding it was preferable to a one-off payment.

“While the bank’s offer does not meet in full all that Unite requested, this is an important first step,” Unite national officer Caren Evans said.

Inflation in Britain jumped to a 40-year high of 9.1% in May and the Bank of England has forecast it will top 11% in October, piling pressure on employers to mitigate the impact on staff. NatWest's offer differs from those made by rivals Barclays and Lloyds, with the salary increase taking place on top of its existing annual pay review and applying globally, according to the memo, with the bank operating centres in Poland and India. Barclays said last month it would give 35,000 of its staff a 1,200 pound annual pay rise, applying to lower paid roles in Britain and bringing forward part of its existing annual pay review. It added it would consider pay rises in other countries. Lloyds meanwhile gave the vast majority of its employees a one-off 1,000 pound payment without improving annual pay. ($1 = 0.8356 pounds)

(Reporting by Sinead Cruise and Iain Withers; editing by John O'Donnell and Jason Neely)

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