EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions

Responding today to the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions, Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary, welcomed some important improvements, although this reform is not the game-changer unions needed or expected. “Many of the provisions in this new measure, replacing the Written Statement Directive, represent a significant improvement. For example, all workers will be entitled to a written statement from the first day of employment. This means seasonal agriculture, domestic, on-demand, intermittent, voucher-based and platform workers will be effectively covered. And the Directive goes further in proposing very helpful provisions to ensure that online platforms…

openMedia: exposing commercial influence on news media

The recently launched openMedia project aims to investigate and expose commercial interference in editorial decisions. The project is run by openDemocracy with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as a partner alongside the Index on Censorship and King’s College London. The project believes that there has not been enough of a concerted, ongoing spotlight on the extent and effects of commercial influence over the media, despite the dangerous consequences it poses for press freedom. For now, the project focuses on 47 countries across Europe but also has ambitions to expand. Despite the recent launch, the project is adamant that it…

European Court: holiday pay for freelancers and bogus self-employed

On 29 November 2017, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of paid annual leave for self-employed and bogus self-employed workers. Now, anyone who has been bogus self-employed can demand additional payment for annual leave. Article 7 of Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 4 November, 2003, provides 4 weeks of paid annual leave for every worker, and the European Court has said that this must not be thwarted by employers. The case came to the European Court after a British case in which Mr King, retiring after 13 years of employment, sought to recover payment…

Belarus: harrassment against freelance journalists on the rise

On 16 November 2017, the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), organised a one-day meeting in Minsk focusing on “The Perspectives and challenges for freelance journalism in Belarus and Europe”.  Around 40 journalists, including media lawyers, EFJ/IFJ affiliates and the EU Delegation to Belarus, discussed how to best put the desperate issue of freelance journalism at the heart of local and national authorities in Belarus and the European Union. Renate Schroeder from the EFJ, Michael Hirschler from the German Journalists’ Association (DJV), and other colleagues from the EFJ’s Freelance Expert Group (FREG)…

Manifesto of Venice against gender-based violence

The “Manifesto of Venice”, a manifesto for gender equality and correct information, will be launched on the World Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, on 25 November 2017. Signed by 800 journalists, including directors of national newspapers in Italy, the manifesto will be launched by the EFJ affiliate in Italy, the Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (FNSI) Equal Opportunities Committee (CPO). It is a result of their collaboration with the CPO of Unione Sindacale Giornalisti Rai and Giornaliste Unite Libere Autonome (GiULiA), following a proposal by the Veneto Journalists’ Union. “We, journalist signatories of the Manifesto of Venice, are…

Study recommends EU action to protect atypical workers

A recent study explored ‘Temporary contracts, precarious employment, employees’ fundamental rights and EU employment law‘, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions. The findings have implications for journalists, as atypical and precarious employment has been tied to media industries and digitisation. The study emphasises that precarious employment is a fundamental rights issue of enormous weight and significance within the EU’s normative order. Some groups, such as women and younger workers, are more affected by precarious employment. Self-employment, which affects many freelancers and journalists, is discussed in…

Incentivising media rights and plurality by supporting good practices in Western Balkans and Turkey

“How to improve the precarious state of journalism in South East Europe and Turkey” was the topic of a press conference held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 14th November 2017 at the Press Club Brussels. The press conference took place in the framework of the EFJ project, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – a project supported financially by UNESCO and the European Union. Andris Kesteris, principal advisor at DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) at the European Commission and Tarja Turtia, UNESCO Programme Specialist, attended the event to hear representatives of…

Media Days urges political leaders to ensure press freedom in Western Balkans

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the focus, that European Union has provided, when over 250 representatives of media, stakeholders and policymakers from the Western Balkans and the European Union met at the EU Western Balkans Media Days in Tirana, Albania, on 9 and 10 November 2017, dedicated to the important role of media in the accession process. Two panels and six workshops gave the opportunity for participants to exchange their views and work on forward-looking initiatives for independent, sustainable and professional media, in a region where the media freedom situation is not only slow to improve, but also in some…

Contracts and collective bargaining for all: “Social Europe”

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), along with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and other European trade union organisations, submitted on 6 November its position on the 2nd phase consultation on the revision of the Written Statement Directive (931/55/EC) trying to extend the right for a written contract and social protection to self-employed workers. The EFJ, along with the ETUC, request in their response that Member States should ensure that all workers (including self-employed workers) have the right to fair remuneration in accordance with national law, collective agreements or practice at the appropriate level in conformity with national industrial…

Studies find precarious employment tied to digitalisation and the gig economy

The grey area between employment and self-employment, symptomatic in the media sector, has been highlighted by two recent studies focusing on online work and the “gig economy”. The separate 2017 studies, one by Eurofound (the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) and the other by Heyes and Hastings from the University of Sheffield, suggest a precarious status of employment for ever more workers. This precarity is tied to digitalisation and the “gig economy”. The study by Eurofound focuses on digital platform work. The most reliable estimate of this type of work among European Union member states is from the United Kingdom, where…

Berlin forum: With quality against lies and hate in the net

How to deal with audiences, how to create trust, how to create facts instead of fakes and what must be done for good journalism to survive. This and many other central questions around fake and facts were discussed on 16 October at the ninth Forum of the “Initiative Qualität im Journalismus (IQ)” in Berlin with about 80 media experts. Professor Tanjev Schultz said that given the speed of false news and propaganda in today’s social media, good journalism is ever more important and can only survive when it is  better than its “loud critic” offer. He explained that lack of…

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