Journalists at the Financial Times 'preparing to strike' over gender pay gap

'It's time for the Financial Times to put its money where its mouth is'

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 30 July 2017 20:48
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The gender pay gap across the media has been thrust into the spotlight following the recent furore at the BBC
The gender pay gap across the media has been thrust into the spotlight following the recent furore at the BBC

Journalists at the Financial Times are reportedly preparing to go on strike over the newsroom’s gender pay gap following the huge row at the BBC.

Women at the FT are said to be furious after discovering they are paid on average 13 per cent less than their male colleagues.

The newspaper’s union called a meeting this week after deciding the issue was being brushed under the carpet by senior management, according to Sky News.

“The gender pay gap in FT editorial is nearly 13 per cent - the biggest shortfall in a decade - and the company's 'ambition' to reach equality by 2022 is worse than the BBC's present target of 2020,” said Steve Bird, father of the FT's National Union of Journalists chapel, in an email to 600 staff at the organisation.

“Working for a private company where even the salaries of the editor and CEO are not disclosed does not inspire confidence in the FT's commitment to transparency.

"And recent corporate statements seem more concerned about the commercial implications of gender bias than bringing women's salaries into line with those of male counterparts.

"After a recent leader in the FT stated: 'Women are right to be angry at the pay gap', it's time for the Financial Times to put its money where its mouth is.”

Senior women at the BBC wrote an open letter to protest at gender inequality at the corporation after it was forced to reveal that two-thirds of its highest earners were men.

Tony Hal, the BBC's Director General, has pledged to have parity of pay by 2020, although several of the corporation's well-known female presenters and journalists are currently renegotiating their contracts following the revelations.

The FT’s internal audit showed that 70 male members of staff earned more than £80,000, while just 20 women were paid more than that sum.

The FT said in a statement to Sky: “We take the matter of gender pay seriously and welcome the Government's move to make all large UK companies report on the issue.

”We have a 50/50 female-male split among our workforce and there are more women in senior roles across the newsroom and commercial teams than ever before. We have a long list of active initiatives in place to further that progress.

“We will be reporting on pay in due course, in line with the UK government timetable. From benchmarking we have seen we compare favourably to the industry.”

Women in various different media organisations are expressing their discontent at the gender pay gap which exists in most newsrooms.

One told the Independent: “It’s bitterly ironic that we write so many stories on gender equality and sexism while being paid less than our male colleagues – even when we have the same or a very similar level of experience and competence.

“It’s high time something was done about it, because our bosses – who are mostly men – have been getting away with it for far too long."

The reporter added: “It’s good to hear union action is on the cards at the FT and that the men there are being supportive of their female colleagues because that’s the only way to move forward, with the men recognising that this is unacceptable and standing with us.”

The FT’s union was expected to put out a statement on further action in the coming week.

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