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Thomson Reuters staff to strike to defend 9-day fortnight

3 April 2009

Journalists who used to work for Thomson Financial News have voted in favour of strike action to protect the nine-day fortnight they have enjoyed since before they were merged into Thomson Reuters.

The NUJ members took part in a secret ballot as required by UK law. They voted 59 percent in favour of strike action and 83 percent in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The journalists will meet on Wednesday to decide their next move.

It was reported yesterday that six senior executives of Thomson Reuters have been given share awards worth up to £42million after a year in which profits and revenues grew ahead of expectations.

Chief executive Tom Glocer has been given stocks valued at a potential $26.1m over five years. The awards are not subject to performance criteria.

Other bonuses, and a $757,000 relocation expenses, mean his pay package jumped from £2.61m for his last year at Reuters to $8.91m for his first 12 months running the enlarged group.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ Head of Publishing, said:

"Our members at the previous Thomson's group had a nine-day fortnight as part of their contracts to recognise the stress of the job and the anti-social shift pattern.
"They now play their part in making huge profits for an extraordinarily successful company."

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"There is absolutely no justification for the working conditions of these journalists to be worsened.
"In fact if the Thomson Reuters executives gave up a small proportion of their bonuses they could employ enough extra staff or feeelances for every journalist at the company to work a nine-day fortnight."

Union representatives from Thomson Reuters were among news agency journalists who took part in a co-ordinating meeting in Paris last month. The NUJ joined with French journalists' union's SNJ and SNJ-CGT to organise the meeting.

The reps who attended also included Associated Press journalists fighting the closure of their French and other non-English language services with the loss of 400 jobs; and Agence France-Presse workers campaigning against changes to their constitution. Journalists from Bloomberg News and Efe were also present.

The news agency workers agreed a programme of joint activity – including lobbying the European parliament.

Tags: , strike, news agencies, pay and conditions, ballot, thomson reuters, executive pay, profits, bonuses, snj, snj-cgt, ap, afp, bloomberg, efe, thomson financial news