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FT staff vote to accept new pensions offer

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15 February 2016

After seven months of conflict at the Financial Times, including two threats of strike action, NUJ members have voted to accept re-negotiated pension terms following an improved offer from management at Acas, the conciliation service.

Last week's talks at ACAS went to the wire, with the final proposal announced just seven hours before a planned 24-hour strike, voted for by almost 92 per cent of NUJ members. The action would have been the first full day's strike at the FT in 34 years.

Staff had condemned Nikkei and FT management for failing to honour promises to maintain equivalent terms of employment following the takeover by Nikkei from Pearson and for proposing to steal from the pensions pot to pay the rent on the title's building on the Thames.

Following a consultative ballot, 88 per cent of members agreed to accept the new offer, under which FT managers promised to limit expected losses for Defined Benefit pension scheme members to 15 per cent of predicted DB terms and grant improved terms for the company's Defined Contribution scheme members.

The following motion was passed today by the FT chapel:

"The FT chapel notes the decision by NUJ members to accept the latest offer on pensions put forward at Acas last week. United and determined opposition by journalists and staff across the Financial Times group has won a fairer settlement for Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution and Auto-Enrolment pension scheme members. We call on pension reps to defend existing terms as part of an effective governance of the pension scheme and call on FT managers to continue to improve existing DC arrangements and do more to address the poorer pension arrangements for local hires.
"Over the past seven months, the FT chapel has shown that it is prepared fight to defend terms, conditions and benefits for journalists against all management cuts and will continue to do so in future."

Steve Bird, FoC at the Financial Times, said:

"Messages of support and solidarity from across the FT showed how determined and effective the proposed strike would have been. Without this stand, chapel reps would not have got this final deal. I am proud of the unity between DB and DC scheme members in defence of our rights and conditions. As a chapel, we stood up to corporate bullying and would do so again in the face of any attacks in future."

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:

  "The chapel should be congratulated on all its hard work and in sticking together to win this improved deal for all NUJ members. It was vital that members remained strong when their pension were under attack, following the sale of the newspaper. The reps should be proud of the new deal they have brokered for their colleagues."

 The chapel also voted to support journalists at the Independent: 

"The FT chapel condemns the decision by managers at the Independent and Independent on Sunday to close the print titles without consulting employees. We call on the company to meet its legal and moral obligations to avoid compulsory redundancies and to enter into talks with NUJ reps. We offer our full support and solidarity to all journalists at the Independent and IoS in the face of this summary action. UK media will be the poorer for the loss of an important voice on the newsstands."

Tags: , national newspapers, financial times, pensions, strike, ballot, nikkei