NUJ sends message of solidarity to Dutch photographers taking action
10 January 2019
The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland sends solidarity to Dutch sister union Nederlands Vereniging van Journalisten (NVL) and its photojournalist section the NFV as they consider strike action in protest at the erosion of rates of pay.
The NVJ/NVF has written to six prominent media companies calling for talks before Friday 11 January – with strike action set to go ahead on Friday 25 January if talks are unsuccessful. Already more than 100 photojournalists have pledged their support for the action.
A national monitor of freelance rates showed they 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 are calling for a 14 per cent increase in rates to keep up with inflation since 2010, online tariffs made equal to print ones, and a respect for their creators' rights.
Rosa García López, Dutch Journalists Union (NVJ) officer for freelancers and photo-journalists said:
“So far, around 180 photo-journalists have said they are prepared to stop work on Friday 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!”
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. The present battle with stock agency Alamy over their cuts to commission serves as just one example of the challenges our members face. Photojournalists are highly skilled and should be paid fairly for their work. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in the Netherlands and will be watching developments closely."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
“The NUJ sends a message of solidarity to our Dutch photographer colleagues. Let’s hope their threat of collective action will send a strong message to the employers who have been eroding photographer rates and undermining their livelihoods. We wish the Nederlands Vereniging van Journalisten all the best in their action.”
The NUJ's national executive council passed a motion in support:
"The National Executive of the National Union of Journalists in Britain and Ireland welcomes the move by photographer members of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ) to campaign for better rates of pay. This council notes that freelance photographers in the Netherlands are planning to strike on 25 January to put pressure on publishers and other media to improve rates. This council resolves to send a message of support to colleagues in the Netherlands and undertakes to publicise this action among photographers and other freelance journalists in the UK and Ireland and encourage them, where possible, to not supply media outlets in the Netherlands on 25 January, or for publication on 26 January."