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’ …

Posted by Anja Zegwaard on Monday, November 11, 2019

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

29 Comments
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Tony
Tony
2 years ago

Volunteering, it is something you are doing for free, it is your choice to work 9+ hours. But organizations should provide food and accommodation at least. Because it is really hard to find something for this period.

Pollaski
Pollaski
2 years ago

The fact that you went with the great philosopher AOC pretty much says it all. LMFAO.

Pollaski
Pollaski
2 years ago

Are there not enough people willing to do it for free, or something?

Its nobody’s business but the people involved what working arrangement they agree to. If you wan’t to get paid, and the position isn’t paid, then find something else to do. Not that hard.

Amor Amankwah
Amor Amankwah
2 years ago

I disagree with the idea that experience doesn’t pay the bills. Experience can help you get jobs TO pay your bills. Volunteerism is by nature working for free, if you pay them, its a job. They might not even be able to afford to pay hundreds of volunteers if they need them. It might go over their planned budget. Besides, how do you even decide how much to pay them? Volunteer work is usually very low level, low skill work. They probably wouldn’t be paid much, which would then upset them. At least those working for free are obviously very… Read more »

Denis
Denis
2 years ago

Yes but if you pay them it’s called employment. Then it’s not volunteering any more. Then it’s a job

MTD
MTD
2 years ago

It’s volunteerism in its nature – to get an experience in an area where people don’t have access to, to get contacts and to enrich themselves. It is unpaid work, by definition. What needs to be covered by the organisation for the event itself, it will be. And these positions are basically for local residents and local students, so why the drama? Of course nobody is forcing you to pay your own $700 return ticket from nowhere, pay you a hotel and food just for you to volunteer on ESC. It doesn’t work that way. And if you have issues… Read more »

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
2 years ago

I feel like the basics need to be covered. Like a basic travel fee if they need to come from outside rotterdam + food costs. since the hotel fee’s are already at like 2000 euros for eurovision week i guess those costs are out of bounds.

Tim
Tim
2 years ago

Nope

Joseph
Joseph
2 years ago

Yes it’s a volunteer job, but they should be paid for accommodation,food and transportation.

123
123
2 years ago

Wtf…they are called volunteers for a reason

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
2 years ago

Yes. Work should always be paid and I am willing to bet that almost everyone who does not agree has never truly had to work in their lives.

Fatima
Fatima
2 years ago

Don’t pay them. Do give them perks. Plenty of them.

Ron Kavaler
Ron Kavaler
2 years ago

Yes, they should be paid.

Apparently without my knowledge
Apparently without my knowledge
2 years ago

Slavery. I would have LOVED to do something at Eurovision 2015, Vienna, but it never occurred to me that I would do it free of charge. This is exploitation of the young and dumb. But the young people need support more than anybody else, so pay them!!

NscoN
NscoN
2 years ago

I don’t see where the exploitation is: it’s a voluntary commitment, nobody forces anybody to take it and the conditions are stated loud and clear since the beginning. Those who don’t want to comply with them or can’t afford giving their time and energy this way are free to decide accordingly.

Pandelis
Pandelis
2 years ago
Reply to  NscoN

Do the managers and technicians also forfeit their salaries or do they keep getting paid lucrative sums? Why should some people who are equally vital to the success of the whole endeavour go without money and only do it for “the experience”? The fact that they are complicit in their exploitation and happily accept it does not mean they are not being exploited.

Amor
Amor
2 years ago
Reply to  Pandelis

I disagree with the idea that volunteers are doing work on the same level as managers and executives. If they were, they would be paid employees. Volunteer work is so low level, so low skilled. I would just give them food and transport fees to help them out.

Pandelis
Pandelis
2 years ago

Volunteerism has become another code word to dupe young people into providing free labour (like zero-hour contracts that are supposed to provide “experience”). People should be PAID when they provide work. Period. I can only accept volunteering work in charity organisations that provide help to people in need like the poor, the sick and the aged. For high-profile sporting and showbiz events like Eurovision it is practically obscene to use that concept. If the broadcasters and EBU can’t afford paid work and they have to rely on free labour, they should better re-arrange their budget and cut costs elsewhere to… Read more »

Martin
Martin
2 years ago

The whole point of volunteering is that you VOLUNTEER! If you are paid it is work. I work in the voluntary sector and we wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of the stuff we do of it weren’t for our amazing volunteers.

Paule
Paule
2 years ago

Not paying Volunteers is a bad joke when it comes to highly profitable events such as the Olympic Games or FIFA world cups (talking about profits for the FIFA or IOC of course). In the case of Eurovision, I’m not so sure about that. But providing a bit more help in form of accomodation or something would be appropriate IMO.

Jo.
Jo.
2 years ago

easiest way to find a job, I guess.

Dawid
Dawid
2 years ago

Free travelling, food and place to sleep should be no brainer imo. But that’s it. You don’t go there for money

Nicky91
Nicky91
2 years ago

i agree, since Volunteers do a lot of hard work at eurovision events

elpa
elpa
2 years ago

Last year we all got the travel cost back and free water And everyone got more things depend of where we work. I was mainly in the bubble to we could take everything we want from the snack bar. I think it’s fine and most of do it for the experience. And I reccomend for every esc fan. Delegation host is the most difficult part and they work very hard so they need to know for example more languages than the rest. However if we want to write about people who dont get enough we should write about the guards… Read more »

why would I want that?
why would I want that?
2 years ago

I don’t get out of bed for less than 10000 dollars
Linda Evangelista

Denis
Denis
2 years ago

Isn’t the point of volunteering that it indeed is unpaid, that you do it because you love it? Like volunteering to help with this and this
If you pay them then you hire them to bee employees. But that’s not volunteering..

Pollaski
Pollaski
2 years ago
Reply to  Denis

Ding

Also, if you require them to pay volunteers, that eats into their budget. Which likely means they’ll hire less people to do things. Which means people who just wanted to be a part and didn’t care about being paid are going to be denied a chance to do so because of a group of sociopaths trying to “help” them.

Polegend Godgarina
2 years ago

then they’d no longer be ‘volunteers’. the fact that it’s the socialists comin up with this idea is even more ironic

M_K
M_K
2 years ago

Isn’t a paid volunteer simply an employee?