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FT to freeze salary hikes

Source: PTI
December 04, 2008 18:32 IST
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With the financial turmoil causing pursue strings to be tightened worldwide, leading British daily Financial Times will not give salary hikes in the near term, in addition to introducing voluntary redundancy programmes.

Further, the newspaper will offer voluntary reduction in working days to its employees and also tighten the recruitment process.

Moreover, travel and entertainment will be limited to essential 'revenue-generating or editorial trips and meetings.'

In an internal memo, Financial Times chief executive John Ridding said it would be increasing the yearly base salary next year only for those earning less than $50,000 while for others, the 2009 pay would be the same as in 2008.

". . . [a]n annual base salary increase for 2009 will be given only to those earning less than 30,000 pounds, or $50,000 (or local currency equivalents). For other employees, base salaries for 2009 will be held at 2008 levels. If conditions improve more rapidly than expected we will review this salary decision," the memo noted.

Ridding also pointed out that the review of the salary decision would need to wait at least until the second half of the year.

In recent months, many publications worldwide, including the New York Times, have cut jobs as part of austerity measures.

According to the memo, employees will be offered voluntary redundancy and voluntary reduction in working to three to four days in a week, both of which are subject to the needs of the respective departments.

"We will tighten up on recruitment. There will not be a recruitment freeze, since we want to continue to attract the best talent. But we will be rigorous in managing meadcount . . .," John Ridding said.

The chief executive noted that these steps are being initiated due to the deteriorating global economic conditions and prospects of a 'tougher and more difficult environment in 2009.'

The memo added that even though the firm is performing well against the competition, with customers and advertisers being affected, 'we need to prepare for difficult times'.

"We need to act early and decisively to reduce costs so that we can sustain our investment and our success," it said.

Reports suggest that the number of people employed in media houses in the United States and the United Kingdom, which stands at about 10 lakh (1 million), is expected to come down by half in the next few years.

According to the Financial Times web site, it has a readership of 1.4 million people worldwide in print and online.

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