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Photographers reject Guardian bid to slash rates

28 April 2010

London photographers are fighting an attempt by the Guardian to slash their income from copyright photographs held in the newspaper's archives.

The newspaper had told the NUJ it planned to cut rates on the reproduction of stock pictures by 15 per cent. When this was rejected by the union, management declared that its final offer was a 10 per cent cut in rates for use of photographers' stock pictures – often a significant source of income for professional freelance photographers.

John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, said:

"I am shocked at this outrageous behaviour by the Guardian. I suspect few of its readers realise that this is the sort of bucaneering bullying that the Guardian gets up to in its dealings with working people. This latest smash and grab comes on top of the unilateral scrapping last year of reproduction fees for commissioned work.
"The newspaper seems to believe that photographers should bear the burden of any financial problems the publisher is facing. The NUJ and our photographer members are telling the Guardian it needs to think again."

The union's London Photographers' Branch has produced a model letter that the NUJ is urging photographers to deliver to the Guardian, protecting their right to be paid properly.

John Toner said:

"It is most important that photographers actually print off this letter and send it with proof of delivery to the Guardian or retain proof of delivery if it is sent electronically. That will help defend their right to be paid proper rates for the use of their work"

Tags: , photographers, guardian, copyright, newspapers, photographs, london photographers' branch