LONDON (AP) _ Several thousand workers at Barclays Bank began a two-day strike Friday to protest the company's efforts to introduce a pay plan unions say will mean a freeze on salaries.

Union officials said the walkout had forced the bank, Britain's fourth largest, to reduce services to customers and move workers around the country to keep branch offices open.

Barclays spokeswoman Jane Vidler confirmed the strike had affected services in Liverpool, south London and South Wales, but said it had no impact on the majority of operations.

``We have closed 209 branches out of a total of 1,985. The vast majority of staff have turned up for work as normal,'' she said.

Two banking unions, the Banking Insurance and Finance Union, which represents more than 7,000 Barclays workers, and UNiFI, which represents an additional 31,000, called the strike Oct. 6, three months after Barclays introduced a performance-related pay system that management said would reward the most productive workers.

The unions said the deal amounted to a pay freeze for some 25,000 people _ almost half the 60,000 people who work for the parent company, Barclays PLC, in Britain.

But Barclays denied the accusation.

``Everyone will get a pay rise this year. After that, some people will earn more, some less,'' Vidler said.