FT journalists to down tools today as pay talks halt

Around 250 journalists at the Financial Times will stop work for two hours this afternoon after talks over ongoing pay dispute failed to result in a deal.

NUJ members at the FT held talks with senior management at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) yesterday but they failed to resolve the dispute.

A strike ballot was held last month in protest at a pay deal which the union attacked as ‘deeply divisive and an attack on union collective bargaining”.

The minimum increase is two per cent for all staff, with many getting 2.5 per cent.

The total editorial pay pot is understood to be rising b 3.5 per cent but management at the company propose using much of this to reward particular staff. This move seen by the union as an attack on the collective bargaining arrangement contained within the FT house agreement.

Today journalists will stop work for two hours for a mandatory chapel meeting at 3pm which is expected to involve around 250 journalists.

Steve Bird, FoC at the FT Group chapel, said: ‘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’s chief executive Marjorie Scardino has previously said that the company has ‘strong contingency plans in place to ensure business as usual at the FT’if the threatened strike action goes ahead.

NUJ deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick 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.”

UPDATE 1.10pm

A spokesperson for the FT said: “There will be two hours of mandatory industrial action as the NUJ meets this afternoon and we view this and any future action as unwarranted and unreasonable, placing an unnecessary burden on colleagues committed to publishing the newspaper and the website.

“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, is a good offer that compares favourably with the rest of the industry.

“The Financial Times has continued to invest in its editorial operations and has 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.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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