Journalists at Thomson Reuters have rejected the company’s latest pay offer – which the union said did not reflect the ‘extremely difficult’ year that staff at the global news agency encountered in 2008.
The National Union of Journalists has invoked formal dispute procedures – although Thomson Reuters has said discussions between management and the union are still ongoing.
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The latest 1.25 per cent across-the-board offer, with an additional performance-based 1.25 per cent, was rejected by NUJ members today.
The union said the rise was effectively a pay cut, and said performance-based pay would break the agreement that calls for collective salary increases.
According to the NUJ, Thomson Reuters – whose editor-in-chief, David Schlesinger, has forgone a 2009 pay rise – will not budge from 2.5 per cent.
Previous offers included a performance-based 2.5 per cent, and one per cent with a performance-based 1.5 per cent.
The NUJ said it wanted the offer to reflect the “extremely difficult” 2008 that staff had endured – which included a number of redundancies following the merger of Reuters with Canadian news provider Thomson.
NUJ members at Thomson Reuters have already agreed to hold an industrial action ballot if their demands are not met.
NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: “This below-inflation offer is effectively a large pay cut for people who worked tirelessly to keep the business running smoothly in 2008, despite the fear of job cuts and the disruption caused by the merger.
“The union is concerned that the company is trying to impose a draconian, ideologically-driven performance pay regime on staff, undermining our members’ collective bargaining rights and rewarding the few at the expense of the many.”
In November, the company announced an eight per cent rise in third-quarter revenues to $3.3bn, and a 17 per cent rise in underlying operating profit to $676m.
NUJ deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Given these positive results and the relatively upbeat outlook, the union regrets that the company has decided against making a fair and reasonable pay award to staff following a very difficult year.”
A Thomson Reuters spokeswoman told Press Gazette: ‘Thomson Reuters remains in discussions with UK union representatives from the NUJ regarding the company’s 2009 pay award budget.
‘Thomson Reuters is committed to open and productive discussions with all union representatives to ensure that they best serve the needs of its employees, customers and investors worldwide.”