Freelance

Freelance journalism is no longer an “atypical” form of work. In many countries the majority of journalists are freelancers. Many are journalists who would prefer traditional employment and have been forced into what we call “fake freelance” positions by employers who break local rules on employment by using freelances to fill full-time posts while avoiding state welfare and social charges.

Some appreciate the freedom, variety and flexibility of independent employment and feel it is increasingly the natural mode of work for journalists. The challenge of a freelance future is a test for journalists’ unions in Europe and around the world.

Contracts and fees, training, authors’ rights, and professional standards are all key issues for the freelance community of journalists. Innovative financing models, which can give freelance journalists new possibilities/niches in media, are being explored by the EFJ and its affiliates. The EFJ Freelance Expert Group recently organised a webinar on entrepreneurial journalism.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Authors’ Rights Expert Group (AREG) and the Freelance Experts’ Group (FREG) strive to defend and to promote freelance rights. We say to our staff colleagues: in order to defend your rights and conditions of work, you can do nothing more effective than to promote the highest standards for freelances.

The Freelance Experts’ Group’s focus for the coming years’ is based on the EFJ’s working programme:

  • Relaunch the Charter of Freelance Rights and promote it at national and European level;
  • Continue to organise webinars on issues important to European freelances;
  • Organise training seminars, including on safety, if funding is available, with the help of EFJ secretariat and cooperate with the Rory Peck Trust ;
  • Collect information on business models and new ways on how freelance journalism is paid for;
  • Monitor EU legislation and advocate for protection of freelance working conditions and decent fees, the right to organise freelances in trade unions and the right to do collective bargaining including for freelances;
  • Support the EFJ Unfair contract campaign;
  • Consider recruitment of freelance journalists in all media as an important angle in all discussions (see EFJ project work);
  • Support journalists’ organisations in fighting for equal rights including accreditation throughout Europe, with a recent focus on Belarus (Get Freelancers into Law http://baj.by/en/node/25104)

Links to freelance sites of our unions


Actions

EFJ welcomes Council of Europe’s recognition of bargaining rights of self-employed

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and it’s Freelance Experts Group (FREG) today joined the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to welcome yesterday’s (13.12.2018) decision by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that put an end to restrictions on collective bargaining for self-employed persons. The Ministers’ Committee’s decision endorses an earlier ruling by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) following pressure by the Irish Trade Union Confederation (ICTU) and its affiliates, SIPTU, Equity, the Musicians Union of Ireland and EFJ’s affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and supported by the ETUC. The decision of the ECSR,…

Finnish trade union coalition demands more bargaining power for self-employed workers

On 20th November,  a trade union coalition called Itset, representing self-employed workers, has published a list of goals to improve the situation of self-employed workers ahead of the Finish parliamentary elections in April 2019. Many unions, NGOs and other interest groups are now drafting and publishing their manifestos. Itset, who represents all three Finish trade union confederations including the Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF) , recognizes lack of fair compensation and contracts for freelancers, as well as the fact that the current legal definition of employment is too narrow. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the UJF, in…

Sweden: Freelance fees recommendation will be increased in 2019

On November 12, the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJ) announced an increase of the recommended fees for freelances by 1.8 percent starting January 2019. The increase will concern also fixed freelance fees. This is to adjust the increased salaries by 1.8 percent accomplished through the recent collective agreement. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its Swedish affiliate in this decision, recognizing that recommendations play a crucial role for many freelancers. Since the 1970s, the SUJ has issued recommended freelance rates per hour, equivalent to the average monthly wage of an employed journalist. This “freelance recommendation” consists partly in a recommended…

EFJ calls on MEPs to support TPWC Directive to protect workers’ rights

UPDATE (15.11.18): the European Parliament voted in favour of the Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions. Find more information here. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today called on Members of the European Parliament to support the draft Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions to protect the rights of precarious workers across Europe. On 15th November 2018, the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive will be voted in the European Parliament.  The vote will determine whether the draft Directive can proceed to the next stage of the legislative process giving the European Parliament the mandate to negotiate on the position agreed…

New EU directive could improve freelance journalists’ working conditions

On 18 October, the Employment Committee of the European Parliament (EMPL) has voted on a draft Directive on Transparent and predictable working conditions. The draft legislation aims to improve the rights and working conditions of workers in non-standard forms of employment including certain freelance workers. It comes as a response to recent resolutions in which Parliament has called on the Commission to review the precedent directive of 1991, lacking of protection for new forms of employment, so that all workers could enjoy a common core set of rights. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the adoption of this draft…

New report shows that law often denies rights to self-employed workers

This article was originally published on the ETUC website: Despite a steady increase in the number of self-employed workers – who now represent 1 in 10 of all workers – the self-employed are denied the rights enjoyed by employees reveals a new report by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). ‘Trade unions protecting self-employed workers’ published today by the ETUC shows that self-employed workers are not allowed by law from joining trade unions in some European countries, cannot negotiate standard rates and working conditions through collective bargaining in many EU member states – supposedly due to due EU competition law, do…