Union members at Thomson Reuters, the global news agency, have agreed to hold a ballot for industrial action.
Members of the National Union of Journalists are angry at management’s plan to impose a 10-day working fortnight on some journalists.
Before Reuters merged with Thomson last year, Thomson Financial News journalists enjoyed a nine-day fortnight.
Thomson Reuters management now wants to introduce a 10-day fortnight – but the NUJ chapel is resisting.
The chapel says, with a pay offer of 1.25 per cent, and company profits of $833m (£591m), Thomson Reuters should maintain the nine-day working fortnight for former TFN staff.
The company has offered a £1,000 payment to all journalists giving up the nine-day format.
NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: “The chapel representing former TFN staff feel it has been left with no option but to ballot for industrial action over this issue. The offer of £1,000 is risible.
“The company has failed to provide any hard evidence of how the nine-day fortnight is harming the news file.
“Staff feel intimidated by managers, and in some cases have been denied their right to grievance hearings and representation by the union.
“Many former TFN staff are paid significantly less than Reuters’ colleagues for doing the same work, and in a lot of cases paid not much more than a Reuters trainee’s starting salary.
“If the company is serious about harmonisation, it should properly consider its journalists’ claim for compensation, which, given the company’s massive profits, is more than affordable even in these difficult times.”
The ballot will be held on Friday 20 March.