of 10,000 signatures

I started a job with one of the UK's biggest banks. It's my first full time job. And if I try to leave or change job within 2 years, they'll charge me £15,000, payable in 30 days. My salary is £25,000 - I'm trapped.

I am one of around 4,000 UK graduates stuck in a job I'm not free to leave. If I quit, I'll have to pay £15,000 within 30 days. If don't pay, I'm told I'll be chased by lawyers threatening bankruptcy.

I'm working at the head office of a massive UK bank - but I'm not actually employed by them, I'm hired as an IT consultant. My employer is FDM Group, one of the UK's biggest IT outsourcing firms. They hire 1,000 graduates every year on contracts that include a so-called 'exit fees' clause. This allows them to claim huge sums if we quit in less than two years.

FDM claim this covers our training costs, but my training was really basic, all online, and most of it can be accessed for free on the internet.

Update, 24 November 2021: FDM have just been listed among the best 75 companies for young people from poor backgrounds to work for, on the Social Mobility Foundation's 2021 Employer Index

Update: 8 December 2021: I have just revealed that the bank where I am working is HSBC. For more details visit GraduateFog.co.uk

Petition text

Dear Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities,

Please investigate FDM Group and the UK's other big IT outsourcing firms currently charging huge fees to graduates who quit their scheme in less than two years - including Sparta Global, QA, Kubrick Group, Revolent, Ten10 and Geeks Limited.

They claim this is to cover training costs, but they dispute the standard of training that was provided - and many signed the contract when they felt unable to ask questions, as they feared the job offer might be retracted if they seemed like a troublemaker.

This practice of charging large 'exit fees' has a disproportionate impact on people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, it stands in direct opposition to this government's promises to 'level up' the UK.

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