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NUJ condemns Johnston Press contracts for freelance photographers

2 May 2014

The NUJ has strongly condemned a contract circulated to freelance photographers by Johnston Press.

Under the terms of the contract, photographers working shifts are expected to: assign copyright; waive their moral rights; indemnify Johnston Press against any loss, injury or damage. They will also be expected to do much of the work on their own mileage expense.

Although the terms of the agreement will be common to all photographers, rates will be negotiated individually. Some photographers have been offered as little as £80 per day, although in Scotland the rate will be £120.

There is no guarantee of work.

John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, said:

"This agreement has all the disadvantages of being a freelance and all the disadvantages of being employed rolled up in one messy, and badly-worded package.
"Photographers might never be offered a shift by Johnston Press but, if they are, they will be paid £80 per day and expected to cover Johnston Press on their own insurance policies.
"No one can afford to work on such terms. However, some photographers might feel they have no choice as photographic work is in such short supply. Johnston Press is taking advantage of the desperate straits in which some photographers find themselves.
"The NUJ in Scotland has managed to negotiate improvements in the contract, and there is no reason why these changes cannot be applied to the rest of the UK.
"Many freelances across the country are refusing to sign the agreement. Johnston Press could resolve this problem quickly and easily by negotiating with the NUJ."

Tags: , photographers, rate for the job, johnston press, rights, contracts, newspapers, freelance, photography, copyright