FT latest paper to face threat of action over pay

Hear ye: Newsquest Andover staff protest with the aid of the town crier

The Financial Times has become the third national newspaper group threatened with a strike over pay.

Journalists agreed to hold a strike ballot but have decided to delay taking a vote after the management consented to talks overseen by ACAS.

The company has offered a below inflation pay rise of 2 per cent, arguing that it reflects the financial performance of the paper over the past year.

In 2003 the pay rise was 1.5 per cent.

NUJ newspapers organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said: “The purpose of going to ACAS on 17 February is a last attempt to resolve this dispute. Over the past two years editorial staff have contributed a great deal to the necessary effort that’s been required to improve the paper’s performance.”

At Express Newspapers, a chapel meeting held in Manchester on Sunday voted to suspend a planned strike ballot to give management a “last chance” to resolve the dispute.

Union officials are to meet management representatives later this month.

The outcome of an industrial action ballot underway at the Telegraph Group is expected to be known on Tuesday. NUJ members have rejected an offer of 3 per cent and said action continued despite the current uncertainty over the ownership.

In the regional press, NUJ members held a day of action as part of the Fair Pay Now campaign targeting Newsquest.

The union is seeking a minimum rate of £20,000 for senior journalists at the country’s second-biggest regional newspaper publisher.

At Bolton, staff released balloons and in Bromley, Oxford, Lancashire, and Andover they handed out leaflets and packets of peanuts.

John McDonnell MP, chair of the NUJ’s Parliamentary Group, said: “It is a disgrace that journalists’ wages are so low. Some are being forced to take second jobs, get into debt or to leave the profession completely. Newsquest makes vast profits and it should be paying its journalists a living wage”.


By Dominic Ponsford

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