NUJ members at Thomson Reuters have passed a vote of no confidence in the group’s editorial strategy and have confirmed that they are prepared to strike if the company presses ahead with compulsory redundancies.
At a well-attended chapel meeting on Friday, staff from the Thomson Financial News and Reuters News chapels called on Reuters News editor-in-chief David Schlesinger to “talk urgently to both chapels jointly”.
NUJ reps described the turnout at the meeting as “fantastic” and “extremely heartening”, and said more than 100 journalists were in attendance.
A motion passed at the meeting read: “This chapel is prepared to take industrial action in the event the company tries to impose compulsory redundancies, and instructs its officers to move ahead with a strike ballot if the company imposes timelines for redundancies without consultation.”
The chapel said it had “no confidence in editorial strategy as currently explained by management” and said it believed plans to axe jobs will affect the quality of work.
Thomson Reuters announced last month that it was looking to axe 140 journalists’ jobs worldwide, as the newly-merged news agency works to eliminate the overlap between the two businesses.
The company is in a period of consultation with staff over the proposed cuts – around half of which are understood to be in Europe.
If the cuts go ahead, the merged Thomson Reuters newsroom is expected to have a headcount of around 2,500 journalists.
Reuters News currently employs around 2,300 journalists, while the Thomson newsroom numbers about 300.
The company expects the job cuts programme to be completed by the end of this year.
A Thomson Reuters spokeswoman said: “We have maintained a close, transparent and cooperative dialogue with all relevant global unions during the entire Thomson Reuters merger process, and will continue to do so.
“We are proud of our editorial heritage and remain fully committed to its ongoing success.”