Financial Times’ journalists could strike over the gender pay gap at the newspaper amid fury that female journalists are being paid 13% less than male colleagues.
Sky News has learnt the FT’s union has called a meeting on Wednesday after concluding senior managers were not taking the lack of pay parity and pay transparency at the newspaper “seriously enough”.
“The gender pay gap in FT Editorial is nearly 13% – 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.
“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.”
The gender pay gap has raced up the agenda after the BBC revealed this month that only a third of its 96 top-earning talent were women and its seven best paid stars were all men.
Image: One FT journalist told Sky News that morale was poor
Senior women at the BBC issued an open letter in protest at pay inequity and demanded immediate action to close the gap after Lord Hall promised to “sort it” by 2020.
Other organisations could too come under pressure to tackle pay inequality: From next April, companies with more than 250 employees must publish the pay and bonus gaps between male and female staff.
The requirement covers about 9,000 employers with 15 million staff, roughly half the UK workforce. The gender pay gap in the UK currently stands at on average 18.1%.
One FT journalist told Sky News that morale was poor.
“There is such a lot of anger about this. It’s like a pressure cooker,” the journalist said.
A recent internal pay audit showed female staff make up the majority of those paid between £30,000 and £50,000 at the Financial Times, while men dominate the £60,000-plus pay bands, with over 70 male staff members earning over £80,000 against just over 20 women.
The FT told Sky News in a statement: “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.”
The union is expected to put out a statement on further action after the meeting on Wednesday.