Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Talks fail to resolve pay dispute at Financial Times NUJ members plan industrial action starting today

Talks aimed at averting a strike by NUJ members at the Financial Times have broken down at the arbitration service ACAS and industrial action is planned to go-ahead this afternoon.

NUJ representatives spent hours in meetings with FT management at the offices of ACAS yesterday but, according to the union, the talks did not reach a resolution to the current dispute on pay.

The union said: "The NUJ is bitterly disappointed that despite numerous suggestions from the union on how to distribute the budgeted money more fairly, FT management have rejected the union's proposals and have failed to come up with a single suggestion of their own. As a result, industrial action will go ahead at 3pm on Tuesday 13 March and is likely to involve 250 NUJ members at the FT."

Further action will also be considered.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: "FT management have failed to engage in meaningful talks or accept the union's constructive suggestions to resolve the dispute. The union is fully behind our members at the FT taking action on pay and management should seriously consider our alternative proposals that would go some way to address the current unfair offer."

Steve Bird, FoC at the FT Group chapel, added: “The cost of settling this dispute is well within the FT's reach. It is extraordinary that management is prepared to bully the majority of its staff into accepting a deal they have rejected over and over as divisive and derisory. This refusal to negotiate is pushing journalists towards a strike.”

The FT issued a statement after the group chapel voted for industrial action over the pay dspute. It said: "We view the vote for industrial action and the risk of disruption unwarranted and unreasonable. The Financial Times has continued to invest in its editorial operations because we strongly believe that quality journalism is at the heart of our global success. The proposed salary increase of 3.5 per cent - with 2-2.5 per cent for all editorial staff and 1 per cent for merit, plus a bonus, compares favourably with the rest of the industry and we have avoided any compulsory redundancies at a time when news organisations around the world are facing exceptional challenges.

"We have strong contingency plans in place to ensure business as usual at the FT and there will be no adverse effect on the quality of our coverage."

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