Freelancers in Belgium: wages remain precariously low

Freelance fees in the french-speaking Belgium haven’t developed for more than ten years. That reveals the latest inquiry “Les tarifs de la pige”, published on 05 August by our Belgian affiliate Association Générale des Journalistes Professionnels (AJP). The fourth edition of the study shows, some tariffs of freelance-journalists have remained on the same precarious level since it was first raised in 2007 – and some even dropped below. But it doesn’t have to be like that, says Sophie Lejoly, Deputy Secretary General of the AJP. Whether it’s newspapers, magazines, web editions, TV or radio, public or private media – the…

Sweden: Freelance journalists successfully obtain fee rise

The freelance section of the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJ) obtained a fee rise agreement with several big Swedish newspaper publishers. Agreements were reached thanks to a joint effort of individual freelance journalists, the Swedish Freelance Section of the Swedish Union of Journalists, Frilans Riks, and the local trade union branches at the publishing companies. The SJ issued its recommended new fees for freelance journalists last November to come into effect in 2019. Two Morning papers: Sydsvenska Dagbladet and Helsingborgs Dagblad will be implementing a two percent yearly increase, the first raise since a substential raise in 2015. Sweden’s biggest…

Dutch photojournalists on strike for a payrise to counter inflation, falling tariffs and ignored authors’ rights

The Dutch union of journalists Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ, an EFJ affiliate) and its photojournalist section the NVF announced on 09/01/2019 that they will be going on strike in protest at the erosion of rates of pay. The NVJ/NVF has written to six prominent Dutch media companies calling for talks before January 11th – with strike action set to go ahead on January 25th if talks are unsuccessful. Already over 200 photojournalists have pledged their support for the action. A national monitor of freelance rates shows they fell from €80 a photo in 2014 to an average rate today of €42…

Survey: remuneration for freelances in magazine sector

This December, the German Association of Journalists (DJV) developed an online survey to record the time freelance journalists need for writing their articles in the magazine sector. The collected data will be used to realistically calculate the personal hourly rate for the freelance journalists working in the magazine sector. The survey was closed on  15th December and the results should be available at the beginning of the new year. The data will be then presented anonymously to the publishers with the goal of guaranteeing fair fees for all journalists and finally agree on Joint Remuneration Rules. The European Federation of…

Netherlands: NVJ adopts plan for equal treatment of freelance & staff journalists

On  28th November, the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) agreed on a “working conditions policy plan” aiming to adapt the rates of freelance journalists in line with the employed journalists. NVJ is negotiating with the publishers to guarantee  4 to 4,5 % salary increase to the publishers association. The NVJ has chosen a comprehensive approach in the negotiations with the publishers to guarantee better rights for both employees and freelancers. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes this decision in times when more and more freelance journalists suffer precarious working conditions throughout Europe. The plan is part of a broader…

Exploitation of freelance journalists is a threat to our democracy

By Renate Schroeder, Director of the European Federation of Journalists The gap between the incomes of the diminishing number of journalists with stable contracts and the growing band of freelances in Europe is getting bigger. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) are appalled by this worsening situation. Such unfair pay practices cannot continue, since an increasing proportion of editorial content is written and produced by freelance journalists. This has an impact on the quality of journalism and, in the end, on democracy itself. That is why the EFJ has been supporting the ETUC’s PayRise…

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…

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)…

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…

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…

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