IG Metall and YouTubers Union had agreed to cooperate in July 2019 in order to unite platform workers across national borders and thus sustainably improve working conditions on internet platforms such as YouTube. The joint venture called FairTube was started as a campaign for better working conditions on YouTube. The informal cooperation is now taking on a formal character. The FairTube e.V. association was founded in late 2020. The association’s online activities started on February 3, 2021:
The launch video is also live – go, check it out!
“Internet platforms can undermine almost all collective and social standards,” says Christiane Benner, Second Chairwoman of IG Metall. This development has had impact on work in regular employment relationships since a while ago. “Therefore, it is time to enforce protective rights for crowdworkers”.
FairTube demands, among other things, transparent rules and procedures for the categorization of videos as well as human contact persons for YouTubers. In the fall of 2019, an agreed-upon meeting between YouTube parent company Google and IG Metall did not take place, because the tech company did not accept the YouTubers Union’s participation in the discussion.
Nevertheless, YouTube has taken many of the demands of IG Metall and the YouTubers Union into account in recent months. For example, the company has published almost all of its rules for taking videos down and for allowing videos for monetized ads. YouTube has also created more opportunities to contact its employees.
On the other hand, the platform recently announced that it would resume advertising on small channels (of which there are many millions) but will not pay channel owners any percentage of the ad revenue.
“By doing this, YouTube has drastically increased its share of total advertising revenue just like that, by declaration. At the expense of YouTubers! If we were truly independent video producers, the platform would not make decisions on such important changes unilaterally. Not even YouTubers with very large audiences can do anything about it,” criticizes Jörg Sprave, founder of the YouTubers Union. “That’s why we are now turning our rather informal Internet movement into a registered association. That opens up new possibilities for us”.
Since the start of the campaign, many YouTubers have expressed their wish to support FairTube with a membership or financially. This is now possible through the registered association.
The YouTubers Union will recommend its supporters to get involved in the association and become its members. The goal is to take in as many YouTubers Union´s members into FairTube e.V. as possible.
Among other reasons, the association was created to provide participation, organization and qualification offers for people worldwide that can only be reached online.
IG Metall had already changed its statutes and started accepting solo self-employed workers from Germany as members of IG Metall since 2017. Now the cause of good working conditions can be supported by platform workers not only from Germany but from around the world. Christiane Benner: “I am very proud that IG Metall, a very traditional organization with long history, is tackling the challenges of digitalization so courageously. We enable people across borders to network in order to improve working conditions in the digital world. We support this with our expertise.”