BT and others under investigation for suspected freelancer rate collusion
The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of competition law in relation to the purchase of freelance services in the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK.
If you have been freelancing in a particular sector or industry for three years or more and your day rate has not gone up, something fishy might be going on, especially if you are working in the sports broadcasting sector, according to freelancers working in the industry and a new investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Does any of the following sound familiar?
- Your freelancer day rate has not changed for several years, regardless of rising inflation and additional costs related to your projects (i.e. travel time, equipment, additional editing, your experience or additional skills, etc.)?
- All hirers in your industry seem to offer the same day rate regardless of the job whether a direct freelance hire or through an agency?
- One hiring company puts their rates up slightly and only then do the others seem to follow?
CMA freelancer rate investigation
On 12 July 2022, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation under section 25 of the Competition Act 1998 (‘CA98’) into suspected infringements of the Chapter I prohibition of the CA98 by companies involved in the production and broadcasting of sports content.
The investigation relates to the purchase by these companies of freelance services which support the production and broadcasting of sports content in the UK.
The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of competition law by at least the following: BT Group PLC, IMG Media Limited (including Premier League Productions), ITV PLC, and Sky UK Limited.
At this stage, the CMA believes it has reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law.
The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any party or parties. Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections and no assumption should be made at this stage that the CA98 has been infringed.
Does this apply to government contracts?
The standard rate hasn’t moved from £550pd for 5 years.
Of course, that may be the reason they find it almost impossible to hire people…