Over 300 journalists associated with Reuters on Thursday staged a 24-hour walkout reportedly over a contract dispute with the Thomson Reuters family.
The protesting journalists have been seeking a new contract for over a year now. The journalists say that they are ready to take legal action against the company to win the contract that they demand.
Major demands of the Reuters guild include a new contract with serious diversity targets for the newsroom, a ban on NDAs that cover up harassment and discrimination and guaranteed wage increases that keep up with inflation among others.
The guild has further alleged that the company and its bargaining committee have agreed to very little, adding that they also haven’t agreed on a bargaining date yet. Following the growing dispute, on August 1, the guild filed a complaint against unfair labour practices with the National Labour Relations Board.
The last pay hike by Reuters was 2.5 years ago. Despite not having a contract, the journalists said that they covered issues including the pandemic and helped widen the profit margin of the news agency. Even though the country is facing inflation, the news agency has reportedly proposed a pay cut and a pay hike reduced to 1 percent.
Such a move by the agency has left the journalists with no choice but to do their best to secure a new contract. It is to be noted that the new agency recently announced it’s financially comfortable enough to spend $2 billion buying back its own stock and another $2 billion on dividends, to the benefit of shareholders and executives.
“Reuters gained a profit of 7 percent in the first quarter, and the guild demands its share in the profits as it states that journalists who write, photograph, film, edit, produce, chart, visualize data and promote that file should share in those gains. Our ask of an 8% wage increase is a rounding error to@ThomsonReuters, about 0.003% of its stock buyback plan,” said the protestors.
The protesting journalists have sought to negotiate a new contract with the company. The same has been proposed to Paul Bascobert, the incoming president of the news agency.