Reuters journalists in Britain plan to stage a two-day strike on Thursday and Friday this week, their first in more than 25 years, after rejecting parent company Thomson Reuters' offer of 3 percent allocated in the budget for pay increases.
London-based members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) are protesting against the offer of a minimum 1.75 percent rise for all staff, with the remainder allocated according to individual employee performance. Retail prices increased by 4.8 percent in Britain during 2011, one of western Europe's highest inflation rates.
We tried very hard to reach a settlement with management but the company's refusal to improve its below-inflation offer of 1.75 per cent, which follows years of effective pay cuts, has compelled Thomson Reuters journalists to vote overwhelmingly for strike action for the first time in more than 25 years, said Reuters NUJ officers Mike Roddy and Helen Long in a statement.
Stephen Adler, Editor-in-Chief of Reuters News, said the company had been informed by the union that about 150 staff were being called out on strike. In a statement issued from the company's New York headquarters, Adler added: We respect the right of our colleagues to engage in this job action as part of the bargaining process and look forward to welcoming them back to work on their next work day.
Adler said the news agency, which divides the editing of its news output between regional desks in London, New York, Washington DC and Singapore, had put in place contingency plans to ensure the continued delivery of news to clients during the strike.
The strike was supported by 83 per cent of the London NUJ members balloted. It will not affect most of the company's 2,800 journalists, who work outside Britain. (Writing by Chris Wickham, editing by Michael Stott)