Netherlands: NVJ wins pay rise for freelance and employed journalists
The Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) reached an agreement on Monday 18 December 2023 with the two main employers, DPG and Mediahuis, on pay rises for both freelance and employed journalists. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the agreement, which will improve journalists’ working conditions in the Netherlands in a context of falling purchasing power caused by inflation.
Work stoppages took place in recent months to put pressure on the negotiations under the slogan “Give us back our wages”. In October, some news editorial teams stopped work and took a “coffee break”, while in November, some media websites were not updated for an hour. On 30 November, around 1000 journalists backed by the NVJ temporarily left their workplaces and held up banners outside the premises.
Journalists have lost the equivalent of a month’s salary in purchasing power since 2022, according to the NVJ. Demanding a 10% increase to compensate for inflation, the association set an ultimatum due to expire at noon on 17 December. Mediahus and DPG finally agreed on a 9.4% pay rise for next year. An additional 2% will be added in 2025. The strike planned for 19 December has therefore been called off.
“We are pleasantly surprised by this proposal and see it as a good way to break the deadlock of the collective labour agreement negotiations,” NVJ stated on its website.
The NVJ is now calling for negotiations on the collective agreement to resume as soon as possible in order to address the remaining issues that have not yet been discussed, such as trainee pay, workload and pensions.
Back in 2018, the NVJ had already adopted a plan for equal treatment of freelance and employed journalists, aiming at bringing freelance journalists’ rates into line with those of employed journalists and improving the general status of freelancers.