Freelance

The importance of cooperation between freelancers across borders in Europe has increased over the years. Colleagues inspire each other; union workers share ideas and experiences.

Contracts and fees, training, authors’ rights, and professional standards are all key issues for the growing – and ever more precarious- 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 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:

  • collective bargaining for all, including freelancers;
  • ensure competition law does not undermine the right to collective bargaining;
  • organising and training for freelances including on safety.

Links to freelance sites of our unions


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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…

Report: Urgent action needed to protect press freedom in Europe

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. That is the alarming conclusion of a report launched today by the 12 partner organizations of the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of Journalism and safety of journalists. The report, “Democracy at Risk”, analyses media freedom violations raised to the Platform in 2018. It provides a stark picture of the worsening environment for the media across Europe, in which journalists increasingly face obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public. The 12 Platform partners…

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…

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…