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Guardian freelances in action

CONTRACT photographers are discussing the possibility of industrial action over their treatment by the Guardian.

They were among 40 Guardian freelances, ranging from occasional contributors to contractors, who attended a meeting called by the chapel at the paper's Kings Place offices. Well-known cartoonist (and London Freelance Branch member) Steve Bell was especially vociferous in support.

Photographers with Guardian contracts discussed the possibility of holding the ballot. Freelance Organiser John Toner continues to support their negotiation.

Complaints were also made by freelance sub-editors and writers about the Guardian's use of the six-week-break practice to avoiding offering full-time jobs, changes in payment rates and the demands for exclusivity that are being made of some contributors.

The meeting resolved to set up an email group to enable freelances to share experiences of dealing with Guardian management. You can ask to join via

The Guardian chapel had arranged the meeting, with the help of John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, after objections were raised on , the union's email forum for freelances, about the low salary being offered in a Guardian News and Media advertisement for "graduate-level writers". These were to work on a summer project for six to ten weeks this summer at £10,428 pro rata. A freelance editor would oversee their work to ensure that they hit "productivity targets".

Freelances expressed their thanks to the chapel for its support.

Last modified: 03 Aug 2009 - © 2009 contributors
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