Québec's freelance journalists are in dire straits
MONTRÉAL, Dec. 14, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - Ten years after a similar survey and a few days after the release of a letter from freelance journalists at Le Devoir, the Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture (FNCC-CSN) and the Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec (AJIQ) are releasing the results of a survey of freelance journalists in Québec, conducted by MCE Conseils. The findings are dismaying: stringers make an average of $31,336 and their incomes have not increased over the past 10 years. Based on number of hours worked, 29% of the freelancers surveyed are making minimum wage or less. About 79% have a bachelor's or master's degree.
The survey respondents work for Le Devoir, La Presse, Radio-Canada, Les Affaires, Le Soleil, The Globe and Mail and Le Journal de Montréal, as well as foreign publications such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and Libération. Most write journalistic texts; others are photographers, researchers or advertising copywriters.
Here are some numbers from the poll:
58% of Québec freelancers are between 30 and 49 years old
63% are from the Montréal area
66% are dissatisfied with the rates they are paid
The average rate is $109 per 250 words
59% say they have to do other work
70% report receiving late payments
50% have no financial security
Many have to cover the expenses they incur in preparing their articles or reports
"It doesn't make sense that media outlets aren't revising their fee structures," said one freelancer. "It's a disgraceful situation. If we protest, they say other people are ready to take our place."
"I'm very poorly paid and my rates haven't increased at all with inflation," said another respondent. "So I'm making less now than I did a few years ago."
"Conditions for freelancers need to improve now," says Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours, president of the AJIQ. "If management at some media outlets agreed to sit down and talk to us, it would help set a precedent and push other outlets to follow suit and pay their stringers a fair rate."
Annick Charrette, president of the FNCC-CSN, puts the question squarely: "Who's working for the same salary today as 10, 20 or even 30 years ago? Who has no social safety net and no bargaining power? Who has to give up their rights so they can get work and be called back? It's a sad reality for freelance journalists in 2022! They fall into a legal grey zone. They have no rights, no social safety net, no protection under any of the provisions of the Labour Code. It's unacceptable in this day and age. Employers have all the power, and they take advantage of it. This has to change. Alongside the AJIQ, we will fight for recognition of their rights."
The Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec (AJIQ), founded in Montréal in 1988, defends its members' journalistic independence against economic and political pressures. The FNCC–CSN includes independent unions that represent employees and contract workers in the communications and culture industries. Membership in the federation provides 6,000 workers in 88 unions with tools for representation and negotiating collective agreements that respect their rights and journalistic independence.
SOURCE Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture (FNCC–CSN)
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/December2022/14/c8826.html