The Gong - © Dave Rotchelle
The Gong awards

THE GONG is awarded to publishers who need a wake-up call on payment. Trinity Mirror, which owns the Leicestershire-based Coalville Times, finally coughed up £122.50 underpaid for shift work done in late September last year.

The cheque arrived after the sub to whom it was owed went to court with the help of the NUJ, and was awarded the full figure together with interest, compensation and court costs. The sub commented that you should "make sure you get the deal in writing".

Also in the running for an award is fashion magazine All Access, published by Middlesex-based Platinum Entertainment Services.

At the time of writing it still owes a member £250 for an article, payment agreed in December 2005 and invoiced in mid-March.

Apparent delaying tactics include requests for payment clarification, confirmation being needed between departments, and checking the contributor's address (again). An incorrectly filled in cheque eventually arrived, which was returned by the bank (a "deparmental error"). The contributor has since added £50 to cover bank charges associated with the cheque, which caused them to go into overdraft. They have carefully archived the trail of emails, and the Freelance Office is now on the case. The publication has no connection with others of similar names, such as the Los-Angeles based All Access Magazine.

To calculate interest and compensation on late payments see www.londonfreelance.org/interest.html

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