European Federation of Journalists

Norwegian Union of Journalists signs freelance framework agreement

The Norwegian Media Businesses’ Association (MBL) signed an unprecedented  framework agreement for freelance journalists with the Norwegian affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists, the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), concerning purchase, sale and copyrights of freelance materials on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The NJ had been in negotiations with the MBL to establish this framework agreement since April 2016. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure predictable frameworks for freelance jobs. The framework agreement will take effect on 1 April 2018. It requires an individual agreement to be concluded between the freelancer and the employer. The NJ and the MBL will prepare templates for  agreements which freelancers can use. Under the individual agreement between freelancer and employer, there may be no less favorable terms than those stipulated by the Framework Agreement. This will enable freelancers to work independently. The individual agreement must be aware of the rights transfer.

“Even with this framework agreement, freelancers –  who are self-employed – have the full responsibility to negotiate and accept or not accept the payment. The payment must be negotiated and agreed upon before the products are used, based (among others) on the wage level of the editorial staff in the client’s business and the freelancer’s operating costs. We hope this will make the work life of freelancers more predictable and sustainable. I also hope unorganised freelancers will see the value of joining our union. Together we stand stronger,” said the chairperson of the NJ Freelance, Oddrun Midtbo, who is co-chair of the EFJ Freelance Expert Group (FREG).

During spring the NJ will offer courses to its members on what the framework agreement really means for freelancers, and how to implement this new tool in their business life.

“This agreement is an excellent foundation for gaining equal pay among all journalists, something almost unheard of among freelance journalists who ever more face ridiculously low pay throughout Europe”, said Renate Schroeder, EFJ Director working together with the Freelance Expert Group to improve economic and social conditions of freelance journalists throughout Europe. A major issue  for the FREG is to be able to negotiate collective agreements for freelance journalists.

Photo Credit: Glenn Slydal Johansen