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FT journalists vote for strike action over pay

27 February 2012

Journalists on the Financial Times (FT) have voted by three to one to take strike action over their 2012 pay claim.

The management had offered a rise of 2 per cent, while retaining a third of the money set aside for this year's increase, to use as merit pay or for staff retention at the managing editor's discretion. The strike call came as the FT announced a 27 per cent profit increase at the group.

Anger within the chapel at the pay deal, which owing to the inflation, rate is a real-terms cut, was further fuelled when it was revealed that John Ridding, FT Ltd's CEO, took home £928,000 in 2010. Figures from Companies House show that his remuneration has increased by 95 per cent in the four years to 2010. During the same period, staff were asked to accept redundancies and a one-year pay freeze.

Steve Bird, Father of the FT Group chapel, welcomed the ballot result as a big boost to the chapel's campaign for fair pay:

"Voting to strike is very big step to take, especially for committed journalists. The size of the majority is a sign of the anger at management's intransigence and the unfairness of the pay deal. Looking at today's profit results, members are livid that they have been lied to about the paper's financial problems."

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary said:

"The union remains open to meaningful negotiations If they will not compromise, it now seems inevitable that NUJ members will be left with no other option but to take strike action if they are to achieve a fair pay rise. In the context of several years of below-inflation pay rises for our members whilst executive reward at the company continues to soar, it is hardly surprising that FT staff have reached the end of their tether."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The FT is making a good profit and in its end of year report, the group is claiming that it has achieved the highest circulation in the paper's history. So why is it offering its journalists, who must take credit for this success, an insult of a pay deal?"

According to figures released by Pearson, the FT's parent company, the operating profit at the FT Group grew by 27 per cent to £76 million in 2011 and turnover was up 6 per cent at £427m.

Tags: , financial times, strike, newspapers, pay, pearson