NVJ and DPG Media reach agreement on work code for freelancers
If the members of the NVJ agree, independent freelance journalists working for DPG Media will receive 167 percent of the collective labor agreement wage as of 1 July, with a minimum of 30 euros per hour for starting journalists.
The base rates for photojournalists in the region will be increased to 65 euros per assignment and all rates for both photojournalists and writing journalists will be indexed. This is stated in the negotiation result that the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) and DPG Media reached this week.
The NVJ has been working for several years to create a level playing field in the media sector and has announced that it is pleased with DPG Media taking steps to achieve this.
DPG Media is thus setting a new standard in the publishing sector: a fair surcharge for all freelancers and structural indexation of all their rates. Freelancers and employees covered by the collective labor agreement with the same work must earn at least the same. Three important agreements have been laid down in the new working code at DPG Media:
- All rates will be indexed from now on; this indexation runs parallel with the collective labor agreement wage increases. The regional photo rates will be indexed from December 31, 2023.
- A freelancer will receive at least 167% of the collective labor agreement wage of the salary scale appropriate to the assignment. This allowance takes into account 8% holiday allowance, 50% self-employed allowance and 20 statutory holidays. The 50% self-employed allowance is a contribution to the costs that a freelancer bears for, among other things, pension, insurance and illness.
- For photojournalists in the region, a minimum duration of two hours and a minimum fee of 65 euros applies per assignment.
What preceded it: lawsuits
The freelancers who litigated against DPG Media have reached a settlement with DPG Media. Part of the settlement consultation was to make concrete agreements on fair remuneration for all journalists and photojournalists who work for DPG Media. DPG Media and the NVJ have reached a working code in consultation with good principles and minimum agreements. The NVJ presents the agreement in principle with a positive recommendation to the members.
That is why both the 4 freelancers and the NVJ have come to the conclusion that the lawsuits can be stopped.
Quality for the better
The working code at DPG Media is a breakthrough for better rates in the publishing sector. DPG Media does not want freelance journalists to be competitive with permanent employees in terms of employment conditions and the agreements in the work code now offer a guarantee for this. Better pay for freelancers will also improve the quality of journalism. The agreement is that the experience and weight of the assignment are included in the rate level.
For the photojournalists in the region, agreements have been made in the work code about assignment rates and a minimum duration of two hours. The basic rate for regional photography will be increased from 55 to 65 euros per assignment. For national photojournalists, just like for all other freelancers and regional photojournalists, indexation has been agreed in accordance with the collective labor agreement.
It has also been agreed in the work code that a lower limit of EUR 30 per hour applies to self-employed professionals in journalism. Freelancers can discuss a higher rate based on their experience and expertise and the weight of the assignment.
The work code is presented to the freelance members of the NVJ working for DPG Media. If a majority agrees, the working code will enter into force on 1 July 2022.
Milen van Boldrik, secretary, NVJ: “ The main reason for a lower limit is that from now on the rates can no longer fall to an undesirable level. It is also very important to agree on an indexation of the freelance rates to maintain the value of journalistic work. We are therefore pleased with this set of agreements in the Work Code, because this has set the road for freelancers in journalism in motion. And the route further up is open to any freelancer who feels they should earn more. We have now really taken a step with DPG Media towards fair rates and we think this has a positive effect on the relationship between the client and the contractor. In short, something really positive has been achieved in journalism with this. †
Bart Verkade, business director, DPG Media: “Freelance journalists were and are important to all DPG Media's daily newspapers, sites and magazines. We want to pay fair rates and ensure that our freelancers have room to put money aside for vacation, retirement and insurance. That has always been our starting point and we can now take this big step because DPG Media is a very healthy company. DPG Media is thus setting a new standard in the publishing sector: a fair surcharge for all freelancers and structural indexation of all their rates.”