FT journalists agree to possible strike over gender pay gap
Union members at Financial Times vote for industrial action if newspaper does not end its almost 13 per cent pay gap
Journalists at the Financial Times have voted in favour of taking industrial action if the newspaper does not close its gender pay gap.
FT staff met on Wednesday to discuss the issue of gender and pay at the organisation, which the National Union of Journalists says is almost 13 per cent and the widest it has been for a decade.
In a statement agreed at the meeting, the FT’s NUJ chapel said the newspaper should be “ashamed” if it enters 2020, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, without closing its pay gap.
Staff agreed to potentially strike “in pursuit of this goal” and have requested a series of disclosures regarding pay from FT management, the statement added.
The NUJ has called for the FT to publish the average gross annual earnings of men and women for each of its pay bands and by age, as well as releasing information on pay gaps regarding ethnicity, social background and education, and disability.
The FT has said it wants to close the gender pay gap by 2022, which is slower than the BBC’s target of 2020.
The row at the newspaper has broken out after a list of the BBC’s top earners revealed that just one-third were women and the top seven were all men.
More than 40 of the BBC’s most high-profile women wrote to Tony Hall, the director general, calling on him to urgently correct the gender pay gap .
The NUJ statement, which was passed unanimously, said: “Journalists at the FT are increasingly concerned that the gender pay gap at the Financial Times is worsening and that senior managers are not taking this seriously.
“So far, FT managers appear to have prioritised commercial initiatives over real steps towards pay parity. And targets for action – including increasing numbers of women in senior jobs and improving female pay averages – have become recast as ‘ambitions’ .
“The company’s recently stated aim for equalising gender pay is 2022. This is five years away and two years after the BBC’s much criticised deadline for pay parity.
“The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Equal Pay Act and we believe that every company, and especially the Financial Times, ought to be ashamed if it enters that year with anything less than pay equality. As NUJ members, we would be prepared to support industrial action in pursuit of this goal should it be required.”
The FT employs around 550 journalists.
Steve Bird, the lead NUJ rep at the FT Group, said: “Companies have had 47 years to fix the gender pay gap and have failed. The FT is not alone in falling short but we believe it should lead the way in bridging this historic gap.
“Male and female journalists are united in their anger over this and NUJ members will do whatever it takes to achieve genuine transparency and end the pay gap at every level.”
The FT has said it takes gender pay “seriously” and has a “long list of active initiatives in place” to make progress. The company, which is owned by Japanese group Nikkei, said its workforce is split 50/50 between men and women.