About 350 protestors
call on Sanoma News
to negotiate its freelance agreement
Helsinki (13.05.2009 - Juhani Artto) On Wednesday, about 350
freelancers and their supporters participated in a rally outside Sanomatalo, the main
building of the Finnish-based multinational media company Sanoma. The protesters called on
Sanoma News, part of the Sanoma Group, to sit down and negotiate as opposed to the
dictatorial stance it has chosen to take- 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.
During 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
- 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.