FT journalists poised for 24-hour strike over pensions robbery
26 January 2016
Financial Times journalists are poised for a 24-hour strike, the first in 30 years, as talks broke down over the management’s refusal to honour pension commitments following the newspaper’s sale to Nikkei.
NUJ members had returned a ballot of 92 per cent in favour of taking action over the £4m pensions robbery, but had stalled to take part in more talks. After management said there was “no more room for manoeuvre”, staff voted to move to strike.
They passed the following motion:
“This meeting condemns Financial Times executives for their refusal to offer equivalent terms for all pension scheme members and their recent statement that "there is no more room for manoeuvre ". We note that they have rejected two compromise offers from the pensions reps.
“FT claims that they have offered £13m in concessions to final pay (defined benefit) members is grossly misleading. Only £4m of this is an addition to the original low offer and aimed at pension accruals; much of the money on offer - including funds won to pay for financial advice for all staff - may not be taken up. According to management figures, an equivalent pensions scheme for DB members would cost on average £1.4m a year over 25 years. For a profitable company with no pension deficit, we believe that this figure is very sustainable.
“In light of the deadlock in the negotiations, we support the NUJ stance of taking strike action in defence of our common aim that the FT must honour its commitment to fair and equivalent terms and conditions for all after the Nikkei takeover. We understand that does not rule out further talks or Acas involvement on the basis that there is room for an improved deal.
“We also urge pension reps to push for improved terms for defined contribution members by seeking access to higher company contributions from an earlier age.”
The meeting then voted overwhelmingly in support of a proposal to call a 24-hour strike in line with the chapel motion passed on 13 January that stated: "The chapel instructs reps to continue to negotiate for an equivalent scheme for members - whether DC or DB - that honours the FT's previous commitment and instructs NUJ reps to fix a date in February for industrial action if this is not achieved by the end of January."
FT management and chapel members will be notified about the specifics of the action by the chapel committee this week.
Chapel and pensions reps will continue to be open to meaningful talks aimed at resolving the outstanding issues for pension scheme members.
Ursula Milton and Steve Bird ©NUJ
A delegation from the chapel, Steve Bird, FoC, and Ursula Milton, deputy MoC, joined Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, went to Tokyo to lobby for support for the union. They met representatives from the Japanese press and broadcasting, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) and the International Federation of Journalists and visited NHK, the national broadcaster.