UK-based retail banking group NatWest has announced an unscheduled pay raise to help employees deal with soaring inflation. 

According to an internal memo seen by Reuters, the bank has given an average pay boost of £1,000 to 22,000 employees across the globe.

In the UK, employees earning a full-time equivalent salary of £32,000 or less will get a 4% increase in base salary and the raise will take effect from September this year. 

“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 was quoted by the news agency as saying.

Unite, a workers’ union, welcomed the move and said that the pay hike is preferable to a one-off payment.

Unite national officer Caren Evans said: “While the bank’s offer does not meet in full all that Unite requested, this is an important first step. Unite will continue to press for a pay increase for the remaining employees who also need support during these challenging financial times.”  

Last month, NatWest’s rival Barclays announced that its 35,000 employees will receive a £1,200 salary hike.

Before that, Lloyd’s Bank Group gave a one-off £1,000 payment to its 64,000 employees. 

In the month of May, UK inflation stood at 9.1% and the Bank of England’s estimates suggest that it may rise to 11% by October.

Notably, the pay hikes come despite central bank Governor Andrew Bailey’s pleas for restraint on wages as it could lead to an earnings-price spiral.