The EU makes collective agreements for freelance artists possible!
The association “krea[K]tiv – musiktheater stands up” has often reported on the legally ambiguous position of guest artists at the theatre.
Whether as singers (“Dienstvertrag”- obligation to provide a service in an agreed time at a certain place – no success is owed) or as directors/choreographers (“Werkvertrag”- obligation to produce a work – success is owed), guest artists are usually only viewed as „employees“ in exceptional cases.
This brings considerable disadvantages.
In the pandemic, it led straight to enormous losses for thousands of people and therefore immediately to an existential catastrophe.
The reference to the „legally ambiguous situation“ resulted massively in the fact that guest artists were neither put on ‘short-time work’ (where they would have received a percentage of their fee, as employees did with their salary), nor could they claim other benefits.
In the case of pandemic-specific financial aid, it was the other way around; here, the supposed proximity to the status of employees caused guest artists to fall through the cracks again.
Thanks to associations like “krea[K]tiv – musiktheater stands up” who stood up together for the artists affected, attention was brought to these issues, leading politicians and administrators to become aware.
This work is now bearing fruit!
A major obstacle on the way to collective agreements for guest artists has now been removed, at least legally.
The EU Commission clarified that artists who are considered self-employed can theoretically form associations.
They are allowed to conclude collective agreements on their working conditions.
Until now, this was not possible due to competition law provisions, although the idea was not entirely new:
Section 12a of the German Collective Bargaining Act had long provided the path to collective agreements in national law for so-called „employee-like persons“, but EU law alone stood in the way there. That is now over.
The EU Commission has recognized freelancers as particularly worthy of protection and has put its foot down.
How can we put this into practice?
A legal opinion must clarify how these regulations can best be implemented legally and strategically, in order to finally abolish the patchwork of bad and disadvantageous clauses in the contracts,
and also, to ensure the survival of an entire artistic profession in changing times.
We, as krea[K]tiv, have made it our task to initiate this change in a very practical way.
The report is a great help to the collective bargaining parties in their negotiations on a „guest artist collective agreement“.
It will enable us to play a much more active role in future negotiations between the German Stage Association and GDBA, VdO, and BFFS.
However, a legal opinion costs around 20,000 to 30,000 €.
Our association’s modest funds should not and must not be completely used up for this.
“krea[K]tiv – musiktheater stands up” is looking for supporters to finance this legal opinion!
Contributions from new members, donations, and crowdfunding can help us raise the necessary funds.
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Your krea[K]tiv – Team