A group of journalists working for FT Chinese, a Chinese language website, are facing redundancy if they do not return to China, on half their salaries, the National Union of Journalists has reported.
Two of the four Chinese journalists are British citizens, and they already have “inferior” terms and conditions to other journalists at the Financial Times, it was claimed by the NUJ today.
The National Union of Journalists Financial Times chapel is threatening to ballot for action, if plans are not reversed.
The NUJ chapel at the Financial Times voted unanimously – at a meeting attended by over 80 members – to demand that the threat of the redundancies be lifted.
“We condemn the outrageous treatment of journalists on FT Chinese. We demand no redundancies on FT Chinese and that the journalists be placed on the same terms and conditions as the rest of FT editorial. It is unconscionable that the FT is sending FT Chinese journalists into harm’s way. We will ballot for industrial action if these demands are not met,” said a spokesperson from the NUJ office branch.
One of the FT Chinese staff wrote to colleagues: “It was a tremendous shock to the entire team. This reminded us of a very old Chinese saying: ‘kill the donkey after it has done its job at the mill’. The best equivalent in English I can think of is ‘kick down the ladder’.”
A email sent to FT staff on behalf of the NUJ chapel, said it “was shocked but not surprised to hear about the Chinese journalist situation”.
“This is no longer the FT that we all joined. The FT used to be a place of compassion, where people were looked after and, in return, gave the job their all.
“Now there are job cuts while new hires are ongoing, constant pressure from bosses to get more in a shrinking paper, filing for the web for ft.com and blogging, and yet no personal support in return. This new FT is not the great place to work of the past. The end result will be lack of commitment to the paper, which will, eventually, show up in the quality of the end product.
The Financial Times told Journalism.co.uk it did not have a comment to make at this point.