FT journalists vote for industrial action 'should it be required' to fix 13 per cent gender pay gap at title

Journalists at the Financial Times have unanimously backed a union motion calling on management to “put its money where its mouth is” and fix the gender pay gap at the paper.

The motion was passed at a well-attended meeting of the FT National Union of Journalists chapel today. It states that journalists support industrial action “should it be required” to tackle the issue.

NUJ members are concerned that female journalists are paid at least 13 per cent less than men at the title.

More than 550 journalists are employed by the Financial Times and most are members of the NUJ.

The agreed statement from the FT NUJ chapel says:  “Journalists at the FT are increasingly concerned that the gender pay gap at the Financial Times is worsening and that senior managers are not taking this seriously.

“Data provided by the managing editor show that the gender gap for most UK FT journalists is nearly 13 per cent, the widest it has been in a decade, and worse than the previous year.

“So far, FT managers appear to have prioritised commercial initiatives over real steps towards pay parity. And targets for action – including increasing numbers of women in senior jobs and improving female pay averages – have become recast as ‘ambitions’. The company’s recently stated aim for equalising gender pay is 2022.

“This is five years away and two years after the BBC’s much criticised deadline for pay parity.

“As employees of a media group that holds other businesses to account over transparency and high standards, we, male and female journalists at the FT at every level, want the company to commit to a deadline for ending the gender pay gap as soon as possible and to provide detailed averages showing that the gap is closing for all, not just those in more senior roles.

“These should include reference to financial incentives and bonuses for senior and executive staff, including the CEO.

“We are asking the FT to share details of mean and median gross annual earnings of men and women by job title (reporter, correspondent, senior correspondent, assistant editor, deputy editor and editor) and by age, following the example of the Wall Street Journal.

“We also ask the management to release information on pay gaps on grounds of ethnicity, social background/education and disability in a similar fashion. Chapel reps will also organise an independent survey on pay.

“The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Equal Pay Act and we believe that every company, and especially the Financial Times, ought to be ashamed if it enters that year with anything less than pay equality. As NUJ members, we would be prepared to support industrial action in pursuit of this goal should it be required.

“After a recent leader in the paper argued that ‘women are right to be angry at the pay gap’, it’s time for the Financial Times to put its money where its mouth is.”

Press Gazette understands that the 13 per cent pay gap is based on data from 405 staff analysed by the managing editor, and does not include assistant and associate editors. The NUJ believes the real pay gap will be higher because the senior figures are largely higher paid men.

​ A spokesperson for the FT said earlier this week: “We take the matter of gender pay seriously and welcome the government’s move to make all large UK companies report on the issue.

“We have a 50/50 female-male split among our workforce and there are more women in senior roles across the newsroom and commercial teams than ever before. We have a long list of active initiatives in place to further that progress.

“We will be reporting on pay in due course, in line with the UK government timetable. From benchmarking we have seen we compare favourably to the industry.”

Privately-owned Japanese company Nikkei bought the Financial Times in November 2015 for £844m.

 

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