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Business am & Scottish Photographers Agree

3 June 2001 - EPUK

The NUJ and Snap (Scottish Newspapers Association of Photographers) have this week reached agreement with Scottish business daily Business AM on the new terms for the employment of freelance photographers.

The terms are the result of negotiations spanning over seven months between the NUJ and Snap and management at the Edinburgh-based business daily, and there have been compromises on both sides in order to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Snap first entered into talks with Business am in November 2000 regarding the proposed contract for the employment of freelance photographers. Of particular concern were clauses which stated that reproduction fees would not be paid for subsequent use of commissioned or ordered work, and a clause which granted unlimited Internet use to the parent Bonnier group.

Freelance photographers had also expressed concerns over the shift rate being inclusive of all expenses (except mileage over 50 miles) and no extra payment being made for shifts worked significantly in excess of eight hours.

Breakthrough

As a result of these talks, Business am have accepted a number of compromise solutions put forward by the NUJ and Snap. The new terms apply to work produced or commissioned from 1st June 2001. In a significant breakthrough, Business am is no longer requiring photographers to sign a contract to continue working for the title.

Business am has now offered to pay reproduction fees on the reuse of freelance work. A three tiered reproduction payments scheme has been accepted, based upon the size used, and with a discounted rate of 1GBP for reproduction up to 1 column wide. The licence to use one-column pictures at this size applies for five years only and only to the print edition of Business am. Two higher rates of 40GBP and 60GBP will be paid for reproduction above this size.

However, the newspaper reserves the right to negotiate a one-off limited licence to use certain photographs on a case-by-case and photographer-by-photographer basis. These are expected to be for photographs which are anticipated to be used frequently in the title.

In return for the discounted payments for one-column reproductions, the shift/expenses rate will rise from 130 to 140 GBP with an extra payment for work beyond eight hours to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis The mileage rate for miles beyond the first fifty has also been raised from 35p to 40p.

Website

Business am management have also assured Snap that only subscription pictures (Reuters, PA etc.) and photographs by staff photographers will appear on their website (www.businessam.co.uk)

A proposal that the shift rate be kept separate from the expenses rate was rejected by Business am management.

A Snap representative has described the deal as “a major breakthrough”. “We always knew that Business am had a first class picture desk team, but they have proved this beyond all doubt in the way they have listened to our concerns and acted on them. While it is unfortunate that we were unable to reach agreement in some areas, we have no hesitation in recommending the new deal to our members.”

Business am’s approach of reasoned dialogue and offering compromise solutions has contrasted significantly with Scotsman Publications’ (TSPL’s) handling of their controversial copyright contract.

In November, TSPL broke off dialogue with Snap representatives on new terms and conditions, and attempted to impose new terms by force on freelance photographers. Six months on, and twenty amendments and four revised contracts later, the dispute is no nearer resolution, and it is widely acknowledged that the issue is still raising acute embarrassment at the highest levels within the ailing newspaper group. Holiday leave has been cancelled for picture desk staff on The Scotsman, where budget cuts have left the picture desk with less than half of the daily budget of its west-coast rival The Herald. Management have even had to resort to bringing in staff photographers from English regional papers to cover TSPL photographers’ holidays.

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