Threatened industrial action by journalists at the Financial Times appears to have been called off after members accepted an improved offer from management.
Around 250 NUJ members planned to down tools for a second time on Thursday in an ongoing dispute over what it described as a ‘divisive’pay offer.
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But last night the NUJ’s FT branch tweeted: ‘A large meeting of the FT chapel votes to accept an improved and more equitable pay offer and call off Thursday’s industrial action.”
The minimum pay increase on offer was originally two per cent for all staff, with many getting 2.5 per cent, but the total editorial pay pot was 3.5 per cent – with management proposing to use the remainder to reward particular staff.
Under the new offer, in July a further 0.5 per cent will be paid to all FT editorial staff from the balance of the overall 3.5 per cent payroll increase.
In an email to staff yesterday the paper’s managing editor Lisa MacLeod said the 0.5 per cent would be consolidated into salaries from 1 July to year-end and is in addition to the award of between 2 and 2.5 per cent made to all FT editorial staff in January.
She added: ‘This award recognises the hard work and vital contribution of our editorial team within the context of an extremely challenging commercial environment.
‘We are confident that, based on prudent management of the budget, we should have sufficient room to make this award while meeting our targets.
‘However, while this does leave us with some crucial flexibility, we will have to be careful to manage costs prudently through to the end of the year.”
She added: ‘I am very pleased to say that this decision has been accepted by the NUJ committee and chapel and as a result, there will be no further industrial action and the 2012 pay award process is now considered closed.”
In this month’s pay the editorial profit-related bonus totals £394 per person. In addition to the Pearson cash bonus of £270, permanent full-time staff members will receive an additional £664 in their pay this month.
MacLeod added: ‘We would like to thank all of you for your patience, and support, and we hope we can now move forward and all focus on our collective priority of producing outstanding journalism for the FT newspaper and the website and our growing readership around the world.”
Last week journalists downed tools for a two-hour mandatory chapel meeting, when they passed the motion to take more action on Thursday if an agreement with management could not be reached.
Last Monday talks between journalists and FT management via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) failed to resolve the dispute.
Steve Bird, FoC at the FT Group NUJ Chapel, said: “This dispute has shown that our members are as principled and tenacious as trade unionists as they are as journalists. I am proud of the chapel’s response and very pleased that management has listened to the majority of its staff. We hope to rebuild good relations with senior managers and get back to producing a great newspaper.”
Fiona Swarbrick, NUJ national organiser, added: ‘This dispute has been a long and difficult one for our members at the FT, and we are delighted that it has been brought to a successful conclusion. As well as welcoming the company’s decision to improve the pay award, the chapel is particularly encouraged by management’s commitment to greater transparency and a more constructive approach to future negotiations. We share that commitment and are keen to move forward positively.”
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