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NUJ ballots for industrial action at Thomson Reuters 20 March 2009

Posted by steve1917 in General.
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The NUJ is balloting for industrial action at Thomson Reuters over its attempts to remove the contractual right of former Thomson Financial News (TFN) members to a nine-day fortnight without their agreement.

TFN staff now working for Reuters in its London newsroom have refused to sign up to the changes and continue to work their existing hours, despite management threats of disciplinary action if they fail to agree.

NUJ members view the nine-day fortnight as an indispensable benefit at a time when the company has offered a derisory 1.25 percent, below-inflation across-the-board annual pay rise, but recently announced a 19 percent rise in annual profits to $2.8 billion. The union has tried to compromise and has agreed to consider appropriate financial compensation for giving up the nine-day fortnight, but regards the company’s “final” offer of £1,000 – phased in two stages, with £500 now and £500 in October – as totally inadequate.

The NUJ believes Thomson Reuters, formed last year through Thomson Corp’s acquisition of Reuters, is trying arrogantly to ram this through despite failing miserably to prove its claim that members’ one day off each fortnight is causing operational difficulty.

Many former TFN staff are paid only marginally more than Reuters trainees, yet they have similar experience and are doing exactly the same job as Reuters colleagues sitting next to them.

TFN members are seriously angry about the pay disparity and feel that one of the few tangible benefits they have is being taken from them for nothing, while the company ignores their claim for parity.

The NUJ’s Head of Publishing, Barry Fitzpatrick, said: “The chapel representing former TFN staff feel it has been left with no option but to ballot for industrial action over this issue.

“The offer of 1,000 pounds is risible. “The company has failed to provide any hard evidence of how the nine-day fortnight is harming the news file.

“Staff feel intimidated by managers and in some cases have been denied their right to grievance hearings and representation by the union.

“Many former TFN staff are paid significantly less than Reuters’ colleagues for doing the same work, and in a lot of cases paid not much more than a Reuters trainee’s starting salary.

“If the company is serious about harmonisation, it should properly consider its journalists’ claim for compensation, which, given the company’s massive profits, is more than affordable even in these difficult times.”

13 March 2009

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