In Portugal the EFJ affiliate, the Sindicato dos Jornalistas‘s newly elected board initiated a freelance campaign starting with a survey about the situation of freelance journalists in Portugal, something which had not been conducted since 2001. In Portugal, trade unions still regard freelances as a new and sometimes unaccepted work form.
The union had asked its members registered as freelancers (almost 10% of the total membership) to answer an online questionnaire. The main results which were recently discussed within the membership (see picture above), are the following:
Age: average age is 41;
Gender: 61.3% are men; 38;7% are female
Employment status: 38.5% consider themselves as freelance journalists; 13.2% consider themselves precarious journalists; 31.6% say they are both;
Income: 46.5% earn less than 505 € per month (national minimum wage); 16.7% earn 505 to 700 €; 2.8% earn more then 1500 €;
Union freelance strategy:
98.7% support the idea of launching a campaign to raise awareness of better integrating freelances in newsrooms;
93.4% support the existence of a collective agreement on minimum standards for paying conditions.
The discussions within the union created a new momentum, and the union is eager to know from other EFJ affiliates how freelances’ work can be better promoted and respected, and how to avoid double standards with regard to staff journalists.The union wants to better integrate freelances in both the union and the work-place.
“We want to engage, not to dig trenches”, said Bruno Horta, member of the EFJ Freelance Expert Group and one of two freelance board members of the SJ.
Photo taken by João Miguel Rodrigues.