The NUJ chapel at the Independent newspapers has launched a petition to management, contrasting the papers' dedication to exposing "oppression and injustice in various corners of the world" with their treatment of freelance journalists, artists and photographers.
Prominent and well-established contributors are already signing up to the letter to Managing Director Terry Grote. "Independent Newspapers produce two of the most compassionate, incisive, balanced and humane titles in the world," it opens - and continues by noting that a house agreement with the NUJ set a minimum rate for writers of £192 per 1000 words in 1992: 11 years later the rate is £200. Worse, for that dismal one-off fee freelances are now expected to cede exclusive worldwide right to publish, plus the right to publish in all media and formats, the right to include the material on databases and websites, and copying rights.
Signatories urge the company to recognise the right of freelances to negotiate collectively through the NUJ; to bring rates closer to those paid by other national newspapers; and to negotiate with the NUJ a standard licence that will ensure freelances receive payment for all use made of their work.
If you contribute words, pictures or hours to the Independent or Independent on Sunday, please do sign the letter which you will find at www.londonfreelance.org/indynet. While you're there, you can also sign up to the email network for contributors.