NUJ freelance organiser John Toner has called for freelance journalists who are primarily dependent upon a single organisation to be entitled to legal rights similar to those protecting employees.
Speaking at the Professional Contractors Group conference, Toner urged a change in the law so that organisations have an obligation to treat regular casual and freelance workers fairly.
In his speech Toner gave examples of journalists whose regular income has been wiped out overnight. He referred to a reporter who worked for 18 months for a newspaper, doing between five and 10 shifts per week: “One night he was approached and told: We won’t be needing you any more after tonight. His entire source of income was cut off at a stroke.”
Toner said: “We would like to see the Government adopt a broader definition of ‘worker’ and provide statutory workers’ rights on a pro rata basis. This already works for holiday pay, and could be made to apply to other rights."
He also argued: “Far too many publishers are using their muscle to try to bully freelances out of their copyright. Their tactic is simple: hand over your copyright or you don’t work for us."
The NUJ has designated July as freelance month, with a call on NUJ branches to take up the campaign for freelance rights.
Story via NUJ website.