[2022] Motion 26 Plight of freelance workers

Composited motion

Received from:

TUC Congress notes that inflation is impoverishing the entire British labour force. Freelance workers, however, are hit worst of all.

Congress further notes that in the UK the number of self-employed workers has increased by approximately 25 per cent since the year 2000 to around 4.2 million.

This growth makes it all the more vital that this category of worker is treated with respect, decency and fair pay – not least to prevent them becoming an easy substitute for employees across all sectors of the economy.

In the media sector, rates paid by most news platforms have stagnated or fallen over the past decade. On some publications – the Radio Times, for example – rates have not changed in a decade. The Daily Telegraph has cut pay to features contributors by almost 30 per cent over the past 15 years. The Sunday Times has more than once imposed across-the-board reductions in freelance rates. The pattern is common to almost the entire UK news media.

TUC notes that unlike employees, freelance workers do not have a statutory right to trades union recognition.

Congress instructs the General Council to highlight the plight of freelance workers in its wage campaigning and, in particular, to call out the hypocrisy of news platforms that call for the decent treatment of workers, while financially abusing those freelancers they engage.

National Union of Journalists