A combination of the recession and the drive by media owners to maintain impossible profit levels has led to a sharp fall in the work available for freelance journalists.
Meanwhile, many media companies are trying to cut the rates they pay.
Redundancies across the media have led to more journalists turning freelance and competing for the same work.
Throughout July 2009 branches held meetings and raised the profile of these issues as part of NUJ freelance month and we continue to campaign for our freelance members.
The idea behind July's freelance month was to encourage our workplace chapels and geographical branches to organise events for freelances. Just bringing isolated workers together can be a boost for morale. For example, you can read about one meeting organised by the NUJ's Guardian chapel.
After many years of campaigning by the NUJ and sister unions, legislation in Ireland is due to be enacted later this year that will give freelance journalists the right to collective union representation.
Many construction workers – represented in the UK by UCATT – are forced onto casual contracts to keep costs down.
So we are urging all NUJ branches to to send a resolution to their local trades union councils calling on all unions to campaign for the rights of freelance and casual workers.
If you would like an NUJ speaker to come address a local meeting email email@example.com.
The NUJ already has a variety of resources for freelances.