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Financial Times anti-cuts rally hears from Tony Benn

Tony Benn with NUJ members at FT

Tony Benn with NUJ members at FT  -  © Private

23 January 2009

More than 150 members of the 220-strong NUJ chapel at the Financial Times packed the staff canteen in London to listen to Tony Benn speak today. The Journalists at the newspaper gathered for a rousing rally against job cuts demanded by owners Pearson plc.

The chapel members heard the veteran Labour politician and NUJ member appeal for a common cause among working people against the ravages of the market that are inflicting job cuts across the UK economy.

Managers at the FT want 80 redundancies, among them 20 journalists – even though the newspaper is still highly profitable.

David Crouch, acting father of the FT chapel, pointed out that, according to the latest company figures, it made £35,000 profit for every single employee.

Tony Benn, who told the assembled journalists that he joined the NUJ 60 years ago, recalled the slump of the 1930s, adding that it led to a revival of progressive politics and the UK Labour government that brought in a great advance in public services in the late 1940s.

He said the same could happen in a new resurgence of democracy after the current recession.

Tony Benn added:

"Democracy transfers power from the market place to the polling station. From the wallet to the ballot."

Addressing an editorial workforce that reports the banking and finance industry in depth, he added:

"Banking is far too important to be left to gamblers. There is an audience now for sensible things that will help people rebuild our society."

The rally was part of an NUJ day of action that saw leafleting and lobbying by union members. Ten new members were recruited to the union. The canteen was so crowded that some members could not get in and had to listen from outside the doors.

The crowd included union reps from fellow Pearson chapels at Penguin Books and Pearson Education in Oxford who expressed their solidarity with newspaper colleagues.

Tags: , financial times, newspapers, cuts, pearson, rally, redundancies, tony benn, banks, profits