News / 13.05.2009

About 350 protestors call on Sanoma News to negotiate its freelance agreement

In April Sanoma News informed all freelance journalists, photographers and illustrators who do work for its publications that the company will adopt a new freelance agreement which would significantly affect the working conditions of freelancers for the worse.
By Wednesday 545 freelancers had given the Union of Journalists in Finland the right to negotiate, on their behalf, with Sanoma News, concerning the freelance agreement. It means that a large provision of freelancers, contributing to publications of Sanoma News, have already signed such a document.
uring the rally, Petri Savolainen, ombudsman of the union, reminded everyone that in Finland the labour market tradition emphasises the culture of negotiation, not unilateral decisions handed down by one side.
According to its announcement, as of May 15 Sanoma News plans to cease cooperation with freelancers who have not signed the new agreement. Savolainen encouraged freelancers not to sign the agreement, in order to get Sanoma News to sit down at the negotiation table and bargain constructively on the context of the freelance agreement.
The union chapter of the permanently employed Sanoma News journalists supports the efforts of the union and the freelancers to negotiate with Sanoma News on the freelance agreement.
Heikki Jokinen, freelance journalist and member of the union's leadership, demonstrated in his speech that the new freelance agreement of Sanoma News does not follow the general practise of freelance agreements. The management of Sanoma News has claimed that the new agreement is merely an application of the generally accepted practises.
The Sanoma Group operates in 20 countries. It publishes newspapers, magazines and books and is also active in broadcasting and on the net. Conditions regarding freelance work and agreements vary accordingly, Jokinen says.
The message of the rally was that Sanoma News should not now betray the trust and goodwill of freelancers who wish to maintain good cooperation with the company. Instead, Sanoma News should take up the offer to negotiate.

Sanoma News demands in its new freelance agreement

  • exclusive rights for the material provided by freelancers to the company's publications (except of use in freelancer's own exhibitions and compilation books, in case they do not compete with Sanoma
  • all rights known and unknown, in all means of distibution
  • full rights to use the material in all units of the Sanoma group
  • all rights to sell the material further
  • right to modify the material and publish it in another form of expression (e.g. change a comic strip to an animation)
  • to be allowed to pay for the purchase 21 days after the first publication, not a maximum of 14 days after the purchase of the material, as the common practise in Finland is
  • freelancers to take responsibility of damage compensation and court expenses, concerning, for example, rights disputes

Sanoma News is part of Sanoma group that operates in 20 countries. Over half of the group's net sales takes place outside of Finland. Sanoma group is one of the largest magazine publishers in Europe. In addition, the group is the leading newspaper publisher in Finland, publishes books in several countries, has several net services and runs in Finland a tv-channel and a photo agency.

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