Is it fair that volunteer positions at Eurovision are unpaid? Well Rotterdam’s local faction of the Socialist Party doesn’t think so. In fact, they’ve now stated they will question the city council directly about the advertisement for delegation hosts.
Every single year, the host broadcaster asks for volunteers to help delegations navigate through the Eurovision host city. However, this year’s call for delegation hosts was met with controversy over the high bar set for hosts (three languages preferred; must know Rotterdam; must work round-the-clock) and the fact the work is unpaid (must provide own travel costs; must cover one’s own food; must take care of accommodation independently).
DELEGATION HOSTS t.b.v ‘EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2020’ De organisatie van het ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ …
The Netherlands has slashed subsidies in the arts sector in recent years and Rotterdam isn’t without pockets of poverty. Taken together, those realities have caused many to view the unpaid Eurovision work as exploitation. Critics don’t think it’s fair that a full-time position doesn’t merit any pay. Aart van Zevenbergen, the leader of the local Socialist Party, told Dagblad010:
“The Rotterdam Socialist Party faction thinks it is strange that there are such high requirements for a volunteering position and that the volunteer is not getting any compensation or salary. Because of that we would like to debate with the city council and the alderman on the employability of volunteers at the Eurovision Song Contest.”
To many the argument is rather strange. Volunteer positions are by their very nature positions that don’t result in pay, but rather in enriching experiences. In this instance, volunteers get to see a side of Eurovision that nobody else usually sees. And, as the advertisement makes clear, volunteers can expand their international contacts and add a unique experience to their CV. Plus folks get to practice their language skills.
Eurovision is not the only place where full-time volunteers are sought and without pay. At big events, such as the Olympic Games, the same type of people are also requested. For the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, volunteers are asked to look for their own accommodation and do not receive any compensation. They do receive 1000 yen (about €8.30) for their daily travel expenses.
NPO has defended their call for volunteers, stating that the position gives a lot back to the applicants. On top of that, they announced that there is a lot of interest in the position and over 200 people have applied since the opening of the vacancy. A spokesperson from NPO told AD:
“It’s very common for a big event like the Eurovision Song Contest to use volunteers. 80,000 volunteers will be used at the Tokyo Olympics. It is a unique experience that fans stand in line for.”
Do you think that it is unfair that volunteers do not get any compensation or do you think the compensation is the experience? Let us know in the comments below!
Read all Eurovision 2020 news here
Co-written by Esma Jansen