The core policy goal of FSE has been to facilitate and encourage more extensive collective bargaining by screenwriters’ guilds and unions throughout Europe.
The establishment of minimum terms and conditions of employment – complete with minimum rates of remuneration – by Collective Bargaining with organisations of independent producers and with broadcasters, has the potential to change the inequitable and inefficient system of individual negotiation and consequent exploitation of the work of screenwriters.
Both at the development stage – when resources are often limited – and in negotiations for purchase of rights at the production stage, individual screenwriters are in an impossibly weak bargaining position with their contractual counterparts.
The role of national and regional Film Institutes and European programmes – which fund producers for film project development costs – is important in this respect.
This weak bargaining position of creators was recognised by the European Commission in its initial studies and in its impact assessment, leading it to propose a series of changes to the contractual provision of authors as a key component of the Copyright Directive.
Based on experience in Germany, the Copyright Directive now also suggests that the proposed changes to creators’ contracts might best be managed by Collective Bargaining.
Facilitating such bargaining, both at EU level and at national and regional level, will be the key policy priority of FSE over the next years.
A problematic issue for creators’ organisations intending to collectively bargain is the clash between collective bargaining and competition law.
Screenwriters are overwhelmingly freelance and in some jurisdictions in the European Union would be considered to be undertakings for the purpose of Competition law. Consequently, their collective bargaining can be misconstrued as price fixing and outlawed by Competition law.
This has led to action being taken by Competition Authorities in three separate member states – Netherlands, Spain and Ireland – in the last decade or so. In each of these member states, new legislation has since been introduced to try to allow collective bargaining by creators, suggesting a wide recognition that facilitating collective bargaining by creators is more socially useful than the application of a narrow and rigid interpretation of Competition principles in a way that brings those principles into disrepute.
Other member states (United Kingdom and Germany, for instance) either tolerate or formally legislate for collective bargaining by creators.
The matter has now been directly addressed by the new Copyright Directive, which explicitly promotes collective bargaining as a possible solution to the need for transparency and for the application of proportionate remuneration.
This policy issue, long a concern of the FSE, will now be brought more precisely into focus by the implementation of the Copyright Directive at national level.
FSE recommendations on screenwriters credits : “Created by”, “Lead Writer or Head Writer” and “Written by”
FERA, FSE and UNI MEI set up a programme to build capacity among audiovisual authors’ guilds and professional organizations in Europe to bargain collectively in the context of the implementation of Title IV, Chapter III of the 2019 Copyright Directive.
14 June 2023 – #ScreenwritersEverywhere – An international day of solidarity with the American screenwriters on strike. Members of WGA West and East, FSE, IAWG and UNI-MEI organised pickets and other actions in more than 30 countries to support the WGA strike.
June 14, “Screenwriters Everywhere”, a day of global solidarity with the WGA strike. Members of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE), International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG), UNI Global Union (UNI-MEI), and other supporters will hold events around the world.
News on the 2019 Copyright Directive transposition process and available formats to collective mechanisms allowing for an effective implementation of its provisions related to authors’ and performers’ fair remuneration in exploitation contracts.
FERA-FSE-UNI MEI Hold Third Online Workshop “Competition law and collective agreements on freelance audiovisual authors’ working conditions”
ECSA, FERA and FSE, representing freelance authors in Europe, welcome EU draft guidelines on application of EU Competition law to collective agreements regarding working conditions of solo self-employed persons.
FERA, FSE and UNI MEI held the second online workshop “Building a Collective Bargaining Campaign” of the joint project “Strengthening Collective Bargaining for Audiovisual Creators” (CBW) on September 21, 2021.
UNI MEI (UNI Europa) and its project partners FERA and FSE are seeking a database project researcher to expand an existing database with modules on the Copyright Directive and collective agreements for screen directors and screenwriters in Europe.
FERA, FSE and UNI MEI held the first online workshop “From Representation to Bargaining: Engaging the Members’ Base” of the joint project “Strengthening Collective Bargaining for Audiovisual Creators” (CBW) on June 8, 2021.