FT facing discrimination claims and strike action

The Financial Times is facing an employment tribunal over discrimination allegations involving journalists working on the Chinese version of the FT website, according to the NUJ.

It is also facing the possibility of strike action on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.

The union said that unlike other FT employees, those working on FT Chinese work five night shifts a week instead of four and do not have the same minimum salary as their colleagues.

According to the NUJ, the paper claims they have no right to be included in the NUJ house agreement because they are now employed by a non-trading ‘shell’company called FT Chinese.

This is despite the fact their editor is an associate editor of the FT and that all FT Chinese staff were once employed directly by the company, the union said.

NUJ lawyers are backing three current employees in the case along with one former member of staff, arguing they are victims of unlawful discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

The FT NUJ chapel successfully fought attempts to make the team redundant two years ago.

Steve Bird, FoC at the FT Group NUJ chapel, said: ‘It is a shame that the principled journalism that permeates the FT seems to bear no relation at all to the outlook of FT management. This is clearly discriminatory.”

Friday will see the result of the chapel’s ballot for strike action in protest at a 2 per cent pay deal which the union attacked as ‘deeply divisive and an attack on union collective bargaining”.

Management at the company propose keeping back nearly half of a potential award of 3.5 per cent to hand out to select “star” individuals, a move seen by the union as “deeply divisive” and an attack on the collective bargaining arrangement contained within the FT house agreement.

The union also said it was ‘furious at revelations that the remuneration for the top director at the FT was £928,000 in 2010″, adding: ‘This figure has increased by 95 per cent in the four years to 2010 while journalists’ salaries struggle to keep up with inflation”.

NUJ deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick said: ‘It is regrettable that, on both of these issues, FT management have been unwilling to engage with the union in our attempts to find a constructive resolution.”

The FT had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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