The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed its full support to the Danish Union of Journalists which has given the Danish based publisher Aller Press A/S one month notice of blockade effective on April 1st 2007.
The blockade means that no freelance member of The Danish Union of Journalists (DJ) is allowed to accept any freelance work from Aller Press A/S - neither text, pictures nor graphics after April 1st.
Aller Press is an international publisher of around 20 magazines with a market share of about 80% of magazines in Denmark. It has sister companies in Norway, Sweden, Finland and in the Baltic countries.
DJ has a collective agreement with Aller Press A/S concerning employees (monthly wage earners). This collective agreement does not cover the similar work done by DJ members on a freelance basis. The rationale behind the blockade is that the blockade is in support of DJ´s demand for a collective agreement covering the freelancwork.
Aller Press sent out non-negotiated contracts to all of their freelancers demanding that freelances allow Aller Press to reuse their material in all Aller´s media in Denmark and in the Nordic based Aller companies and for resale in the rest of the world on totally unacceptable terms and conditions.
DJ tried to reach a collective solution with Aller on behalf of the freelances. A solution was close to being found, but at the last minute Aller Press stepped down from the talks and reverted to sending out non-negotiated contracts. The new contracts include a few concessions to DJ, but are basically as unreasonable as the first ones. On this basis the executive committee of DJ decided to give notice of a blockade of all freelance work for Aller Press A/S from April 1st 2007.
DJ will compensate the freelances for the economic losses they incur during the blockade. Many of the involved freelances came to a meeting called by the DJ on Thursday the 1st March and the freelances are determined not to sign the new contracts and to not infringe the blockade. Fellow unions (writers, academics etc.) have issued notices of sympathy conflicts and the 200 employees of Aller Press A/S in Denmark stand behind their freelance colleagues and will not take on blockaded freelance work.
DJ also asks for journalists and photographers in especially the Nordic countries and the Baltic countries, but also elsewhere, to be alert of possible attempts from Aller Press A/S to circumvent the blockade by getting material from new sources.
Please contact the Danish Union on +45 33 42 80 00 and ask to speak with Hans Joergen Dybro, Christian Doelpher or Anne Louise Schelin if you see any such signs or need further information.