Monday 27 February 2012

FT journalists vote for strike action over pay claim

NUJ members at the Financial Times have voted by three to one to take strike action over their 2012 pay claim.

According to the union, management has offered a pay rise of 2 per cent, while retaining a third of the money set aside for this year’s increase to use as merit pay or for staff retention at the managing editor’s discretion.

Steve Bird, FoC at the FT Group chapel, said: “Voting to strike is very big step to take, especially for committed journalists. The size of the majority is a sign of the anger at management’s intransigence and the unfairness of the pay deal."

The NUJ says the strike call came as the FT announced a 27 per cent profit increase at the group and says there was anger within the chapel at the pay offer when it was revealed that John Ridding, FT Ltd’s ceo, took home £928,000 in 2010 at a time when staff were asked to accept redundancies and a one-year pay freeze.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “The union remains open to meaningful negotiations and suggests that FT management reconsider their response to our repeated requests to meet in order to break the deadlock. If they will not, it now seems inevitable that NUJ members will be left with no other option but to take strike action if they are to achieve a fair pay rise.

"In the context of several years of below-inflation pay rises for our members whilst executive reward at the company continues to soar, it is hardly surprising that FT staff have reached the end of their tether.”

The company said in a statement: "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."

A spokeswoman also said FT profits referred to by the union are for the FT Group which includes Mergermarket and other joint ventures.

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