Amend labour Act to cover freelancers

The Media and Printing Industry Workers Union (MEDIANET) has called for the amendment of the Labour Act (Act 651) to ensure that collective bargaining is extended to freelancers in the country.

A statement signed by the General Secretary of MEDIANET on Wednesday said freelancing was a new form of employment which should be given the recognition it deserved.

It said the legislation must empower trade unions to negotiate group agreements, which would include model contracts for the performance of services by freelancers in all genres, format and media.

It stated that the issue represented a challenge to the existing regulatory framework for labour based on the assumed prevalence of those stable employment relationships.

The statement thus said the picture had changed and there was growing evidence that freelancing was becoming a prominent feature in the media industry among journalists and in other fields.

It added that it was therefore important to guarantee a regulatory framework, which would grant all journalists, including freelancers, a set of basic rights and protections.

The statement said freelance journalists presented series of weaknesses in comparison to employed journalists.

It said this usually made wage levels lower, contractual rights not implemented, job security limited and poor welfare protection.

It said journalists deserved a fair income that would ensure decent livelihood, equal treatment and opportunities, good working conditions, access to meaningful and productive work and prospects for personal development.

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