The The International Federation of Journalists and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today welcomed a court victory that gives new hope to thousands of freelance journalists who support union action and collective bargaining to defend their working conditions.

The Danish Labour Court has ruled that a union blockade of the magazine publisher Aller A/S because of its policy of trying to impose non-negotiated contracts on freelance journalists is not contrary to labour law.

“This is a watershed verdict because it destroys the employer argument that freelance journalists are only self-employed business people and not, as the union argues, wage-earners with bargaining rights,” said Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary. “We congratulate the Danish Journalists Union for this action which could have an impact right across the media in Europe.”

The Danish Union of Journalists now plans to impose a new blockade of freelance work at Aller A/S which controls around 80 per cent of the magazine market in Denmark. Freelance members of the Union will not accept any freelance work from the company or any of its 20 magazines if it resembles work covered by the collective agreement for staff members.

Although the Danish Union has a collective agreement with Aller Press A/S concerning monthly wage earners it does not cover the similar work done by members who work on a freelance basis. The dispute escalated when the company told freelance journalists to accept non-negotiated contracts that allowed the company to reuse their material on terms the union found unacceptable.

Now the union is imposing a blockade in support of its demand for a collective agreement covering the freelance work. The union plans to follow up this victory with fresh efforts to overturn tax and other restrictions which discriminate against freelances.

For further information about the Danish dispute contact:
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård (President) +45 27 25 80 30,
Hans Joergen Dybro (Union Advisor) +45 27 25 80 44 or
Anne Louise Schelin (Legal Consultant +45 27 25 80 32

The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries