Journalists at Thomson Reuters could strike in the New Year if a pay dispute with management is not resolved.
In a meeting yesterday members of the NUJ unanimously rejected a pay offer and officials are now preparing for a strike ballot unless an agreement can be reached.
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Thomson Reuters has said that the UK pay budget can only rise 2.5 per cent next year.
Management at Thomson Reuters have an agreement with staff and unions that they should negotiate an across the board basic salary increase, but initially only offered a 2.5 per cent rise based on merit and at the discretion of management.
A second offer of a 1 per cent increase in salaries with the remaining 1.5 per cent performance based has been rejected by unions, who say this does not reflect the hard work that staff put in following the merger of Thomson and Reuters in March this year.
Barry Fitzpatrick, national organiser for newspapers and agencies for the NUJ, said: ‘This means that the increase is much lower than previous years and it is a contravention of the agreement which specifically says there will be an across the board increase and they may also include merit.
‘Given that they are trading at a profit at the moment and there’s been a very successful merging of the businesses and people have taken on a lot of different roles this year we think there’s a case for an acknowledgement right across the board for the contribution that the staff have made from both Thomson and Reuters.”
Negotiations are ongoing but Fitzpatrick said that at yesterday’s meeting there was an overwhelming agreement that a strike is on the cards if management to not improve their offer.
He said: ‘If management continue to break the agreement and refuse to negotiate the pay and try to impose contractual changes that arise from the merger of Thomson and Reuters then it does look like there will be a strike ballot.”
Yvonne Diaz, financial spokeswoman for Thomson Reuters, confirmed that talks were ongoing over the pay deal. She said that reports that the company initially offered to freeze salaries were misleading.
She said: ‘The pay budget has always been 2.5 per cent and the way we were looking at it was that the pay increases were given on merit, so I think it’s unfair to say that we’re freezing.”
‘Anyone who is an effective performer would receive an increase, taking into account the current climate. Everyone knows this has to be looked at in the current climate – the financial industry is having a period of unprecedented change.
“On the basis of that Thomson Reuters is taking the necessary steps to agressively manage its cost base.”