The union representation of film professionals within ver.di (trade union) is organised via the so-called Filmunion. In order to be closer to the members, there are regional groups, that arrange regular meetings at the media centres Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich.
The current collective agreement for film and television professionals employed for the duration of the production (TV FFS), negotiated between the producer’s alliance Allianz Deutsche Produzenten – Film & Fernsehen e.V. and the trade union ver.di can be found here (PDF in German)
It defines working hours, minimum remuneration and holiday arrangements, inter alia for Sound Mixers, Boom Operators, Utility Sound Technician and Sound Designers. The union fee table can be found on page 17.
Strictly speaking, the collective agreement only applies to ver.di members that are employed at production companies bound by collective agreements. Most of the members of the producer’s alliance and the film and television producer’s association of North-Rhine Westphalia are among them. With the acknowledgement of the collective agreement producers “buy” the option to legally cross the maximum working time of 10 hours per day defined by the Arbeitszeitgesetz (Working Hours Act) in individual cases.
If an employee is not employed under the collective agreement – or under worse conditions – the 10-hour maximum of the Working Hours Act applies automatically! In case the producer lets you work longer anyway, he commits an offense and can be charged by the Gewerbeaufsichtsamt (trade supervisory board) or the professional association BGETEM (occupational safety).
The fees negotiated in the collective agreement with the producers are to be understood as minimum fees, and hence can be exceeded, without suspending the remaining agreements of the collective agreement. The fee levels are negotiated at irregular intervals in bargaining rounds. The bvft Fee Recommendation orientates to the standard fees of sound mixers.
If the increase in standard fees is put into relation to the inflation rate, it becomes clear that in the years 2011-2015, a somewhat higher trade may have been achieved, but that there is a lot to catch up to in comparison to the fee situation at the turn of the millennium.