Monday, October 18

FT journalists stop salary talks over £ 1.9m payment to former editor | Financial times

Financial Times reporters called for payment negotiations to be suspended after it was revealed that former editor Lionel Barber was paid more than £ 1.9 million last year, including a £ 500,000 “loss of office” payment.

Barber, the FT’s highly regarded publisher since 2005, received the salary and pension package despite a drop in earnings during the same year, accounts filed with Companies House showed. The package, first reported by Press gazetteHe included £ 1.4 million in payment, £ 502,000 in lieu of notice and another £ 10,000 in his pension scheme.

After the chapel of the FT’s National Union of Journalists was informed of the figures, it called a staff meeting to discuss the issue on Thursday and then instructed union representatives to suspend negotiations “until clear answers are provided on the remuneration of management personnel ”.

The statement noted that the Barber deal had come to light “at the end of a year dominated by wage moderation and job cuts” and required the company to provide “full transparency on all performance and pay targets for senior executives. executives “.

A spokesperson for the newspaper defended the salary portion of the package as “performance-related contractual pay.”

FT staff appeared to broadly support the union’s position, with one employee telling The Guardian: “There is utter fury that this has happened.” Another called Barber’s pay level “staggering, considering how much pressure is being put on young people now.”

Others were more sympathetic to Barber. One argued that he “did a brilliant job turning the FT around and making it profitable in the 14 years of his leadership and he was a great editor.” They said the opinion of the staff when the salary reward came up on an internal zoom call “was very big, ‘I’m really cool with this, it deserved it.’

In the same set of accounts, FT reported a significant drop in earnings from £ 8.2 million in 2018 to £ 1.89 million last year, and the drop is understood to be attributed to costs associated with the office change . The broader FT group reported level annual operating profit of £ 28 million, the Press Gazette reported.

Earlier this year, the salary of the organization’s top 80 managers and editors was cut by 10%, while the 2020 annual bonus scheme was suspended. Pension contributions were temporarily cut in half, and 20 non-publishing employees took paid vacations. The members of the company’s board of directors suffered a 20% salary reduction.

The company has faced staff revolts over top management pay awards in the past, and CEO John Ridding cut his salary to between £ 1.1 million and £ 1.2 million from his nominal award of £ 1.6-1.7 million after the NUJ threatened industrial action. The previous year they paid him more than 2.5 million pounds.

A spokesperson for the FT said: “After 35 years at the FT, including 14 successful years as an editor, Mr. Barber was paid a total of £ 1.9 million in 2019, including his performance-related contractual payment and an additional payment. contractual instead of notice.

“This resulted in an exceptionally higher than usual total figure, which is disclosed in the FT Ltd. accounts. Those accounts have already been filed with Companies House, well before the December deadline.”

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