The EFJ drafted preliminary conclusions of a best practice review of collective
agreements in Europe (following replies to a
specific questionnaire sent to member unions in 2008). Member unions which did not reply to the questionnaire can ask the EFJ Secretariat for more information.The summary below has been drafted by the Labour Rights expert group (LAREG) and still needs to be completed.
Working Time and Holiday Regulations
a) Working time
The 30 hours per week working time that is in effect in Greece for those employed by the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) is the shortest one of all in comparison with other European countries, most of which enforce a 35-hour work week.
Journalists working in Romania are among the best paid ones in terms of overtime in Europe, as they're entitled to an additional 100% of their base salary for the hours worked beyond their standard shift. The same regime is in effect
In the remaining countries, the compensatory increase for
overtime amounts to approximately 20%, while in Slovakia journalists are not
entitled to any compensation for time worked beyond the standard hours.
c) Night shifts
In most countries, a night shift is designated as work performed from 22.00 to 06.00, with the exception of Switzerland where a night shift
starts at 20.00. As for night shift compensation, many countries provide the employee
with the option to choose between additional compensation (which in some countries
is an extra percentage of the paid salary -for instance, in Italy it's an
additional 16%- or it's a standard
increase in the rate of pay - in Norway, for example, the additional pay is 21€
per hour) and in time off (for example, in Switzerland journalists are granted
one week off for every two hours worked four times a week). It should be noted that journalists in Slovakia are not compensated for night shifts.
d) Public Holidays
When it comes to work during a public holiday, the most favorable regime can be found in Romania, where journalists are entitled to additional compensation pay
that amounts to 100% of the base salary, while in Norway journalists are given 150€ in compensation.
Journalists in Norway seem to reap the greatest benefits when it comes to their annual vacation time, as they are entitled to at least five (5) weeks vacation time per year - that is 35 workdays off.
Trade Union Rights
In every national legislation of the countries that are partaking in this survey, a strike is presented as a last resort for resolving disputes and is opted for only when all other means of settlement have been exhausted (such as negotiations, wildcat strikes, etc), otherwise it bears the risk of being declared illegal. Also, there are no specific and
distinct strike regulations for journalists.
According to the Norwegian
collective agreement, in cases where there is no extraordinary reason for
dismissal, a three-month notice has to be provided either by the journalist or by the employer. A similar regulation in enforced
but the notice of termination is not mandatory.
ι) maternity: Women journalists in Romania can stay at home until their child reaches the age of two, while she receives her full salary throughout the duration of maternity leave. She also has the right to take an additional year off work, albeit without pay. In the event she returns to work earlier than the two years of maternity leave, she is entitled to take two hours off her daily work shift. Slovakia's legislation is liberal with single-parent families, where the parent cannot be fired until his/her child reaches the age of six. In Greece, an employee cannot be fired during the duration of her
pregnancy and for a year after having given birth.
ιι) Militaryservice: In Norway, the journalist's salary is paid in full for one year, even during the
duration of military duty.
ιιι) Paternity: Norwegian law provides for a
two-week paternity leave with pay, while
it also grants time off for the first day of kindergarten or school, so
that the parent may accompany the child.
ιv) Moving:Norway provides for time off when the employee is to relocate to a new home.
v) Illness: According to Swiss
law, journalists are provided with a 720-day sick leave, during which period
the journalist's insurance fund provides 80% of his/her salary.
Journalists in Hostile Environment
Most of the participating countries' legislation doesn't include any provision for dangerous professional assignments and only Romania provides a 10% of the base salary stipend for
dangerous missions, as well as a 200% base salary stipend for extremely
Training and Access to the Profession
ιι) Training forJournalists
The majority of the participating countries lack any specific
regulations on journalism training. The
strictest requirements have been drawn by Switzerland which requires two
years of prior experience in the media sector and the completion of a nine-week
academic training course.
The best system can be found in Romania, where the lowest age limit for retirement is 63
years of age for men and 58 for women.
Access to and exit from the profession is free in all countries, except inItaly, where journalists entering the profession are required to have completed an 18-month apprenticeship and pass an
examination. Similarly in Spain,
aspiring journalists have to also pass an examination in order to enter the
ν) Editorial independence and
Nothing specific has been foreseen through collective agreements or
legislation. Internal democracy in the media sector and editorial independence is
supported through a union's code of ethics, which in Greece has a binding effect for
employers, as it has been adopted and is enforced through collective
ι) Entry-level salary:
Switzerland is by far the
best place for a newcomer to work, as the entry-level salary amounts to 3.350€.
Outsourcing, that is assigning a company's work to independent contractors and, in this case, sending journalists to cover stories on a per assignment basis, is a new trend. Italy has taken strict measures to
address this phenomenon and has formed the comitatodiredazione specifically for this reason.
In most countries, freelancers aren't
covered by the collective agreements for journalists. Switzerland has established a minimum wage
limit, while there's an effort underway in Romania to include freelancers in
the collective agreements so that they may gain equal rights with the other
iv) New Media, same companies
Journalism work in various Internet sites has been included in Italian
legislation through a special clause of the collective agreement, but most
countries enforce one of two systems: either there is a newsroom department
that works solely for the Internet editions, or the existing staff also does
the online work.
There is no legislative provision in the participating countries
to regulate journalist-operated blogs.
Short overview on the
best and the worst provisions
Each of the participating countries has an area where it believes it
has conquered an achievement, while it also notes which area is in need of
improvement. Listed separately below are their points of view:
journalists' professional autonomy, as well as the good working conditions rank
among the achievements. The journalists' unions and
associations are trying to establish a unified platform for the enforcement of
collective agreements, regardless of which media the journalists are working
at. Another issue of concern is the rising unemployment rate and the Italian journalists are searching for ways
to address this through the collective agreements.
greatest achievements for the Romanian journalists are the following: the level
of wages (along with the extras which have been included in the collective
agreement), the provision for consciousness and misrivalry, the addition of the
journalists' code of ethics, as well as significant gains for the members of
the journalists' union. Now they're trying to enforce sanctions on those employers
who refuse to publish the decisions drawn by the equality committee on a
journalistic level and are also seeking to oblige employers to pay for their
employees' seminars ad further training.
Norwegian journalists consider the pension regulation as their greatest achievement,
as well as the establishment of the minimum levels for the future pensions.
They're now striving for the establishment of a lowest wage limit.
SWITZERLAND: The greatest victory for the Swiss journalists is the provision that establishes author's rights for freelance journalists. From the year 2002 to today, the Swiss believe that the situation has slightly worsened due to the absence of social dialogue for the renewal of the collective agreement in the German-speaking part of the country.
SLOVAKIA:There is no collective
agreement in Slovakia.
Media workers are afraid to express their points of view - the employers are
mandated by law to discuss any whatsoever issue is asked of them on the work
premises. There's no one to cooperate with at a national level, as the
Publishers' Union and the Broadcasters' Union
have no interest in acceding to other employers' unions. In comparison to 2002,
there has been a slight improvement in the overall labor sector, but that is
not true for the media sector.
greatest achievement for the Spanish journalists is gaining labor rights, a
move that introduced regulations in a wholly unregulated sector, through
collective agreements and the bargaining process. The journalists' union plans to
include administrative staff in the collective agreements, as well as freelance
journalists, who are often used by the employers as a tool to downgrade the
working conditions of the rest of the staff.
considers the relatively high wages earned by journalists- in comparison with workers
in other sectors- as an important achievement, along with the establishment of
its own health insurance plan which provides high quality services to its
members. Greek journalists are presently trying to: establish
authors' rights and protection of sources, secure full labor rights for short-term
or contracted employees, put a break on the industry of lawsuits against
journalists and abolish the risk of untrustworthy publishers.
 It's noteworthy that in Slovakia only a few journalists-freelancers enjoy vacation time, as most
journalists there aren't entitled to any
time off for vacation. To make matters worse, in the event work is slow and
their presence is not deemed necessary, their absence is considered as leave
 In Italy, a killed journalist's family is entitled to compensation that amounts to 92.962,24€, while in the event of long-term disability, the
journalist is entitled to 108.455,95€ in compensation. In Greece, in the event of death or total disability, the compensation amounts to five years' salaries, while in
the event of partial disability, the journalist is entitled to a full salary for the duration of his/her