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Orchestras threaten national strike

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Elizabeth Press - [email protected]
Orchestras threaten national strike

More than 100 community and state orchestras across Germany have threatened to strike in the coming weeks due to decreasing salaries. For the first time since 1995, the Deutsche Orchestervereinigung (DOV) - the German orchestra association - has issued a strike notice.

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Talks between the unions and employees are due to begin in the next two weeks. The location has not yet been named, but the negotiations will focus on salaries.

The DOV is protesting against “massive efforts on the side of employers to cut orchestras off from the civil service’s salary structure,” said Gerald Mertens, director of the DOV, at the association’s annual press conference. Orchestras are often state funded in Germany.

Salaries of orchestra members have been historically linked to those of the civil service. Representatives of employers in the sector say that salaries of orchestra members should be linked to the business that they can generate. Verdi, a union for orchestra employees, has asked for an 8% raise, a request that the German Theatre and Orchestra Association has declined.

“No theatre or orchestra can achieve an 8% salary increase on their own,” Rolf Bolwin, director of the Verdi, told Tagesspiegel.

Germany has 133 state-funded orchestras. State funded orchestras have long been a national pride. This cultural institution has been waning, as 7,000 positions have been cut in the last 13 years.

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