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Verdi, along with actor’s union BFFS, have reached an agreement with SKY on fair remuneration for creative workers involved in the production of series. The agreement allows film artists to benefit from the success of their work and sets out the terms for bonus payments based on the success of a series.

The common remuneration agreement applies for SKY’s series released from the beginning of 2017. This agreement covers not only the main directors and writers of the show but also artists in sound, makeup, set design, editing, and camera work. The remuneration is based on the number of accesses to German-language series in the European distribution areas of the Sky platform.

“We can now also expect additional remuneration for SKY series for the more than 80 filmmakers in a series production, who are to participate in the success of their work as film artists. Only with the impressive achievements of filmmakers are series created that fascinate their audience and captivate them over all episodes of a season. It is good that SKY will remunerate this appropriately in the future. For filmmakers, if successful, there is additional earnings and the necessary recognition after the income from work,” explains Matthias von Fintel, chief negotiator for ver.di.

Laying the foundations at the EU level

Recent changes in EU policy have enabled creative workers and their unions to bargain collectively for these types of fair remuneration agreements. In particular, the Copyright in Digital Single Market (DSM) Directive helped to level the playing field for creative workers and companies to negotiate. By setting collective terms for fair remuneration ahead of time, both workers and companies avoid highly burdensome and unpredictable case-by-case legal action.

In the build up to its 2019 adoption, UNI Europa was heavily implicated in ensuring the directive included provisions for fair remuneration through collective bargaining. UNI Europa also advocated for the competition and self-employed collective bargaining guidelines, which clarify that collective bargaining is a valid means of achieving fair remuneration.

This agreement with Sky marks Verdi’s second breakthrough in negotiating a remuneration agreement with a streaming provider, the first being with Netflix in 2020. The agreement highlights the importance of collective bargaining in achieving fair remuneration for filmmakers and artists in the industry.

“This is groundbreaking work by ver.di. It illustrates the importance of coupling EU policy work with real concrete advances for working people. Creatives who work on series at SKY will now join their counterparts at Netflix in getting a fairer share of the success they contributed to creating,” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa.

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