Netherlands: Photojournalists on strike to demand decent rates

The Dutch union of journalists Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ, an IFJ and EFJ affiliate) and its photojournalist section, the NVF, announced on that they will be going on strike in protest at the erosion of rates of pay. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) fully support their demands and welcome the coordinated action amongst freelance journalists to defend their rights.

© NVJ

The NVJ/NVF has written to six prominent Dutch media companies calling for talks – with strike action set to go ahead on January 25th if talks are unsuccessful. The kick-off meeting will take place tomorrow. You can participate in the collective action by registering here and show your support to the campaign by tweeting with the hashtag #fotojournalistiekheefteenprijs (Photojournalism has a price).

Currently, according to the NVJ, over 300 Dutch photojournalists confirmed to participate in the strike by stopping their work to join the action for a pay rise. The objective is to reach as many professionals as possible to join the collective action.

A national monitor of freelance rates shows rates fell from €80 a photo in 2014 to an average rate today of €42, with some rates falling as low €15 to €20 for a photo. The NVJ/NVF are calling for a 14% increase in rates in order to keep up with inflation since 2010, to match online tariffs with online ones, and a respect for their creators’ rights (copyright).

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Working as a photojournalist requires technical skills, talent, creativity, dedication, time, investment and resources, things that deserve a fair payment. Media companies paying 15€ or 20€ for all that work is not just an insult to the profession but to quality journalism. We back freelancer’s rights and demand media companies to pay decent rates”.

This action shows us the way to build concrete solidarity between staff and freelance journalists. We fully support the photojournalists in the Netherlands and the union’s campaign fighting to improve the professional working conditions and build trust and respect between professional and the broader public opinion. We are also calling every photojournalist in Europe to express online support with the Dutch colleagues, their fight is our fight”, added EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard.

The General Secretary of the NVJ/NVF, Rosa García López said:

So far, more than 200 freelance photo-journalists have said they are prepared to stop work on 25 January. That is almost unprecedented in the history of self-employment. Freelancers act as individuals, but they are now prepared to join forces because the need is so great. The photo-journalist profession deserves tariffs that can sustain it into the future. We have announced a series of actions and we could use all the support we can get from our overseas colleagues. If we don’t stand firm now and act with all our Dutch union members this could mean the end of photo-journalism. Unless we do, our clients will simply realise that we are not prepared to act in a united manner. Therefore, it is now or never because the only press agency in the Netherlands – ANP – threats to cut rates with 50% and six media organizations pay extremely low online rates (as well in print) while they have announced that within five years they will go online (print will disappear)! Online rates of 15 Euro for a photo shoot are unacceptable. Photojournalism is not a hobby!

Several IFJ affiliates have already shown their support for the action. Natasha Hirst, Chair of NUJ Photographers’ Council said: “Such coordinated action amongst freelance photojournalists is extremely significant and we applaud our Dutch colleagues for their campaign. Photographers in the UK face similar threats to their livelihoods as rates of pay decrease whilst copyright infringements and use of unpaid amateur photography are an ever-present intrusion”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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