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I've had no pay rise for 9 years.

(8 Posts)
Spidermama Wed 16-Jul-08 09:38:50

What's more it has been made pretty clear to me that I won't get one even if I ask.

I work for BBC Radio. I used to be on staff but then gave it up to have kids and for the past nine years have been freelancing in between pregnancies and breastfeeding.

When I went back to work after my last baby, about two years ago, I was told by the woman who gave me the shifts, 'sorry but the pay hasn't gone up'. So I submitted my invoice and the wages womaan said to me, 'You can't have THAT! No-one gets THAT rate' (It's an unbelievably shit rate as it is btw.) I had to tell her that I was not going to accept LESS money that I got two years ago.

Anyway, this incident has made me realise there's no point asking for more.

The thing is, I LOVE my job. I've done it for fifteen years. It's highly skilled. I don't know how they get away with offering so little money.

DH and I work so hard and so often and yet we struggle financially. I'm wondering now if I should look for a job I would not enjoy so much, but which would pay me more. At the moment I can't help feeling really insulted. I've put years of loyal service into the BBC and I feel I'm being shafted.

No pensions, barred from prospects because I'm not staff any more, at their beck and call when they want to give me shifts, and shit pay at that.

TantieTowie Wed 16-Jul-08 12:46:07

This makes me cross - but essentially it's because it's work that can be loved that makes it so badly paid - everyone wants to do it and many people will do it for less money, especially if they feel they'll progress beyond it and earn more in the future.

It's also because it's not a job - in a job you get regular wage reviews and can go on strike. Freelancers operate as individuals and so find it harder to negotiate upwards. BTW, I know the NUJ has agreed minimum freelance rates with some some employers - can you find out if the BBC is one of them.

Personally I keep my hand in with 'proper' journalism but I've tried to keep moving my overall rates up by taking on better paid corporate and marketing work as well. That can be quite interesting but of course everything has to be approved by clients. But it does seem to be a sad rule of thumb that if it's interesting the money will be rubbish. Which is a shame.

Can you maybe mix what you're doing with other things that pay better.

EBenes Wed 16-Jul-08 12:51:44

When I worked freelance for magazines I also got no pay rise over 5 years. It was a flat rate, and I wondered why there was no embarrassment when the staff would have been having pay rises. I used to cry when friends talked about Christmas bonuses. And yes, no pension. It is really rough. I think you should keep doing what you love, but write to them formally and explain that no pay rise for 9 years in an inflation crazy world is no longer possible and you intend to raise your rates, just to see what they say. I think they may blink first. Otherwise, you can always sheepishly carry on and pretend it never happened. I'm really sorry, hope things improve, it is shameful of them.

MegBusset Wed 16-Jul-08 12:56:57

It's the same story in my line of work (freelance sub-editing). The day rate on one of the magazines I work at has not gone up in over ten years. I know there's no point asking for more because I used to have a permanent role then and tried getting the rates up myself!

Because it's a high-profile magazine, they can always get someone cheaper and less skilled who wants to do the job even at the crap rate. So it's like it or lump it.

Can you look for a regular freelance gig elsewhere, perhaps less glamorous but better paid, which will bump up your income? Also, make sure you're getting all the holiday pay you're entitled to.

Spidermama Wed 16-Jul-08 21:50:32

'Can you maybe mix what you're doing with other things that pay better?' Yes Tantie I would like to. I just don't know what. I've only ever done radio journalism and before that, waitressing. Oh yes, and I worked in a toy shop as a teen.

Spidermama Wed 16-Jul-08 21:52:11

Holiday pay meg? Freelancers don't get holiday pay do they? Unless I'm missing something.

MegBusset Wed 16-Jul-08 22:14:53

Yes, if you work shifts then you are eligible for pro rata holiday pay following EU law that came into place in 2007. See the NUJ website here -- scroll down to 'Paid time off'. Companies don't usually jump up volunteering to pay it, though, ime you will need to chase for it.

Spidermama Wed 16-Jul-08 22:54:12

Thanks Meg. I think it's time I rejoined the NUJ.

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