Sunday, 27 September 2009

Victory for the Contract Photographers

Great news that GNM management have admitted their mistake.

Photographers are relieved that the Guardian News Media management have accepted the error of their planned attempt to deprive their freelance contributors of re-use fees announced on Friday

The hard work of NUJ’s Freelance Organiser John Toner in negotiating with GNM is recognised by editorial photographers everywhere.

The NUJ is planning a ‘Guardian day of rest’, and this is welcomed, but of course all photographers should join those who have already publicly refused to work under the newly announced conditions.

So far it has been a battle of nerves with the Guardian refusing to commission some non-consenting freelances on the one hand, and yet back-tracking and making exceptions just as frequently on the other.

Today, the contractors, tomorrow everyone else, and if the Guardian do the right and proper thing, then we can all go back to regarding both the daily Guardian and the Sunday Observer as being amongst the best papers in Fleets street to work for. None of us like the feeling that the papers have stabbed us in the back, which of course is what they have done by unilaterally refusing re-use fees.

The petition is now at 1,460 names and rising daily

The fear that most photographers have is that the GNM management will pigheadedly defy commonsense and best practice and will continue in their stubborn refusal to pay reuse fees for new work. The papers will then lose the good will of in excess of a thousand photographers, and then be forced to rely on inexperienced juniors desperate for a break; who will inevitably be told that these new terms are industry standard – when they are blatantly not, and we will see a new impoverished underclass of photographers most of whom will be forced to leave the industry when the find that the returns for their work will be well below the pay of fifteen years ago, whilst overheads have doubled during the same period.

Freelance editorial photographers ask all photographers to refuse to work under the Guardian and Observers rights grabbing contract. If everyone says no, then GNM will have no choice but to restore normality.

We want to trust the Guardian and the Observer. We enjoy working with the staff, we like seeing our images used properly, but we are also professionals and we have to earn a living. It is difficult enough these days without the supposed good guys 'putting the boot in' as well.

One fee = One use

Pete Jenkins

Member of: The National Union of Journalists

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