Own Recording and Cutting: Agreement at wdr

Own Recording and Cutting: Agreement at wdr

The tariff commission of ver.di on WDR has approved a wage agreement with WDR on surcharges for filming and editing services by authors. The provisions in detail:

  • The previous surcharges on the minimum fee of 25% for news films up to 45 seconds, reports and reports up to 1´ minutes and up to 2´ are supplemented by contributions up to 3´ and 4 minutes, even if the self-shot performance does not extend to the full contribution length.
  • On a trial basis (for a trial period of three years), the extra service average is agreed on a voluntary basis. If cutting / editing is made a condition of the awarding of a contract, this contradicts the collective agreement and should interest the staff council as the guardian of compliance with the collective agreements.
  • Surcharges for editing services amounting to 10.5 % of the fee for contributions of 1 minute or more amounting to 10.5 % of the fee are agreed, 12.5 % for the use of own editing technology.

The collective bargaining agreement was controversial until the end. Authors were disturbed by the fact that editing services will only be subject to a surcharge if the length of the contribution exceeds 1 minute. This virtually eliminates the need for a guaranteed fee for all editing services for so-called "NiFs" (messages in films, short illustrations of text messages).

Many production workers, editors and cameramen, both permanent and freelance, were particularly critical of the degree. They saw that whole fields of work for specialised production workers were no longer necessary. It has to be said that such fields of work have indeed disappeared - but not because of the collective agreement, which only provides authors with a pay scale for their services.

In fact, developments have meant that there are no longer any obvious technical hurdles for filming and editing by authors. In the past, it was hardly possible to operate a camera or editing suite in addition to journalistic tasks. This is different today. Modern cameras provide technically useful images, even if they are not operated by trained camera operators. Editing programs run on simple PCs and also no longer require specialized training in order to produce technically acceptable results.

Of course, this does not mean that camera and editing work can now simply be replaced by self-rotation and editing reporters, especially in terms of topicality. The focus continues to be on safety at work, quality, the threat of work intensification, etc. Also in the current reporting production colleagues are still needed. Here ver.di and the staff council must be active.

However, the profession of cameramen and editors tends to be directed towards the creative core - a complex visual language, emotional shots and an assembly rhythm adapted to the narrative content do not arise from the technical operation, but are based on the training and experience of the creative production colleagues. Neither the technical development nor the collective agreement will change this. On the other hand, there are many editing and camera shots in which this training and experience brings only a slight improvement in the result, but generates a high, especially organizational effort. So the quality gain with some short forms is not so serious that it justifies the effort to set up a camera team of one's own and then to order the author to the radio station or studio at a fixed time. Many production workers also complain more about an excess of less demanding tasks.
The fact remains that with the technical development the profile and also the scope of employment of many production professions is changing. ver.di sees it as its task not only - as has now happened - to help the authors to obtain an appropriate remuneration for their production services, but also to demand clear perspectives for the profile and scope of employment of cameramen and editors. The collective bargaining commission had asked WDR to resume talks on the subject. WDR, however, rejected this and insisted on the agreement to the result of the negotiations.

The collective bargaining commission had to accept this, but assumes that the talks with WDR will be continued in the sense of the problems described above. The more the trade union is supported by the activities of freelancers and permanent employees, the sooner such talks can be conducted with the necessary vigour.