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GDBA has the declared goal of fundamentally reforming the NV stage.

With our goal, we are part of a nationwide reform movement to improve working conditions and stand shoulder to shoulder with our sister unions and many important associations.

We want

  • A minimum salary level system
  • Limitation of working time
  • More predictable working hours per day, per week and per game time
  • Reform of the fixed-term and non-renewal regulations
  • Participation of the ensembles in artistic and social issues
  • Participation in finding theater management
  • Collective bargaining security for freelancers and hybrid employees
  • Protection against abuse of power in cooperation with works and staff councils

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Collective bargaining

The GDBA bargaining committee negotiates the NV Bühne with the German Stage Association side by side with its sister unions BFFS and VdO.

Click here for the current negotiations.


NV Stage Reform

The standard contract (NV) for the stage has been criticized for many years because it regulates inadequately or not at all what a collective agreement should actually regulate: Working hours, pay, social protection. Here are our demands for a reform of the NV Bühne in detail.

We want

  1. A minimum salary level system
  2. The elimination of the divisional paygap between collectives and all other employees.
  3. The elimination of the collective agreement paygap between the public service and NV Bühne employees.

We want more relief and predictability in everyday artistic life.

  1. The days off rule should be understandable and equal for all.
  2. The free day regulation from the special regulation choir (NV stage §74) is to be taken over and adapted, we want one free working day per calendar week and half a free day per week.
  3. There may be no more than ten working days between workdays off.
  4. After a half day off, work may not exceed four hours.
  5. For working on a weekday holiday, we require a workday off within four weeks as a substitute.
  6. The days off must be announced three months in advance.
  7. May 1 and December 24 are to be off-duty.
  8. At least every 3rd calendar week there shall be 1.5 consecutive days off.
  9. All are entitled to one free weekend per month (all Saturday, all Sunday).

4 hrs. between rehearsals
5 hrs. before main and dress rehearsals
4 hrs. between performances, morning performance and rehearsal
5 ½ hrs. for solo before major parts/roles
5 ½ hrs. for opera chorus before major chorus operas
5 ½ hrs. for dance: if it is exclusively a ballet performance

Compensation for shortening of rest periods
1/3 daily payment for shortening of rest period by 1 hour
2/3 daily payment for shortening of rest period by 2 hours

  • Working time shall not exceed 8 hours. One hour of this is trust working time.
  • Introduction of a model for quantifying working time - The Framework Model (working title).
  • The frame model calculates working time in 4-hour lump sums. These lump sums are called rule-frames.
  • If a rule frame is not claimed by the AG or only 10 minutes were worked, 4 hours are calculated within the scope of the working time recording.
  • Exceeding the planned rule frame number is possible and will be compensated extra.
  • More in the members area

  • The days off must be announced 3 months in advance
  • Abolition of the accessibility obligation
  • Binding weekly and daily schedules

  • "Office out of Solo"
    The following professions are to be included in the scope of SR ATuV:
    Equipment Manager:in, Director:in of Artistic Operations, Director:in as far as they are Employees:in, Dispatcher:in, Dramaturg:in, Graphic Designer:in, Director:in of KBB, Orchestra Managing Director:(management and directorate), press officers, officers/assistants to the artistic directorate and artistic operations, theater photographers, public relations officers, orchestra/choir/dance office, theater educators/facilitators. 
  • ATuV (V= administration) should become ATuB (B= office)
  • Introduction SR Guest

  • Strengthening the boards (as a prevention against abuse of the part-time regulation).
  • In order for boards to advocate for their constituents without direction or fear, they must be given non-renewal protection.
  • The Solo and BT boards should be given the same rights as the Opera Chorus and Dance boards.
  • Training rights/obligations - costs borne by the employer (cf. Works Constitution Act §37)
  • Time off for trade union officers for trade union work
  • The participation rights of the management boards must be strengthened in the areas of "working time" and "part-time work".

Non-renewal practices must be fundamentally changed, because the permanent fear of employees that their contracts will end for the so-called artistic reasons is the ultimate breeding ground for abuse of power. 

Also, the fact that non-renewals are pronounced when there is a change of director without having to deal with the artistic expression or the social situation of the employees must be changed. 

The freelancers in the GDBA are one of the largest groups. They consist of many artists who pursue very different forms of employment.

For dependent employees, we demand a separate special regulation in the NV Bühne.

We want genuine hospitality

The sister unions BFFS, GDBA and VdO have started negotiations with the German Stage Association on behalf of the guests who are employed.
Here is an excerpt from their list of objectives:

  1. A separate special regulation in the NV Bühne and a binding model contract.
  2. Continued payment of remuneration in the event of illness from the first day of employment.
  3. If performances or rehearsal periods are canceled, the full remuneration must be paid, even in the event of "force majeure".
  4. Full coverage of travel costs to and from the event, a public transportation ticket and regular trips home.
  5. Accommodation is to be provided by the employer. Either as a financial lump sum or as a theater apartment with minimum standards: own WC, W-LAN, cooking facilities, washing facilities, public transport connections.
  6. All working time regulations from the NV Bühne should also apply to guests.
  7. Guests should be released for work acquisition (auditions, auditions, auditions, audition dates) subject to a notice period, unless there are significant operational reasons to the contrary.
  8. Outside of final rehearsal times, guests shall be granted unpaid leave of absence to attend other professional appointments, e.g. filming dates, readings, stand-in appointments, unless there are significant operational reasons to the contrary.
  9. The minimum guest fee should be calculated taking into account individual professional experience.
  10. The introductory fee should be at least 20% (instead of 10%) of the monthly fee.
  11. At the beginning of the contract, 1/3 of the contractually agreed total remuneration (rehearsal fee and agreed performances) shall be paid. Fees shall be paid immediately after the performance, but no later than the end of the month in which the contractual performance was rendered or should have been rendered.
  12. The number of performances and their remuneration must be specified in the contract. Contractually agreed performances are binding.
  13. Contractual and employment periods must be clearly specified in the contract and blocking dates must be recorded.
  14. Before concluding the contract, the stage must agree with the guest on the social security status and the social security registration.
  15. If the employer wishes to make further arrangements after conclusion of the contract, the guest's consent is required.
  16. If the employer wishes to agree further periods for unilateral scheduling, appropriate remuneration must be paid for these periods, regardless of whether the period is used by the employer or not. Actual scheduled performances during this period must also be remunerated. This remuneration is offset pro rata against the remuneration for keeping the period free.
  17. Theaters should generally pay the agency commission.
  18. Vacation is not considered to be compensated with the agreed fee. Vacation must be granted in kind during the contractual period.
  19. Remuneration must be agreed for rights of use (e.g. streaming). Exception: The right of use for live streaming during a performance.

More topics

Abuse of power has many faces and is an ongoing issue in the industry and beyond. Basically, abuse of power is the misuse of a higher position to harm another person. The fear of non-renewal and, in the case of stage actors, also the fear of "artistic withdrawal of love" (by casting policy) lead to permanent silence.

Forms of abuse of power
Systematic non-greeting, withholding information, deliberately arriving unpunctually, name-calling, ridiculing, devaluing, permanently demanding high work performance, allowing too little rest time, not justifying decisions but pushing them through, racist remarks/gestures

Please contact our Membership Office if you suspect abuse of power.

A municipal, state or regional theater is not only a place where art is produced, but also a company with many employees.

The management structures and persons therefore have a decisive task. Political decision-makers in particular are faced with the extremely complex task of laying the foundation for successful and socially relevant theater work in the coming years by selecting these position(s) and defining the structures in which they will operate.


  • Transparent selection processes
  • Publicity of the calls for tenders and the selection criteria
  • Visible selection criteria, especially with regard to diversity competence, management competence, personnel management, readiness for further training, critical faculties as well as social sustainability 
  • Verification of these skills in the application process, e.g. through assessment centers 
  • Mandatory involvement of selection committees with equal representation and diversity as of the earliest possible date
  • Involvement of employees, associations, interest groups and employee:representatives
  • Timely start of the process

Change of Intendancy 

  • The entire process of changing management must be designed to be transparent for the entire institution, not just for the employees who are involved in committees (e.g., works council or staff council).
  • Accompanying employees in the change process, direct communication (not via the press.)
  • Social sustainability: an end to theatrical folklore and the mistaken belief that new artistic signatures are only possible with the replacement of the entire artistic staff.

Ensembles must have more say in artistic decisions in the future.


  • In order for boards to advocate for their constituents without direction or fear, they must be given non-renewal protection.
  • The Solo and BT boards should be given the same rights as the Opera Chorus and Dance boards.
  • Training right and obligation for board members - costs borne by the employer (cf. Works Constitution Act §37)
  • Time off for trade union officials for trade union work
  • Strengthening the boards (as a prevention against abuse of the part-time regulation).
  • The participation rights of the management boards must be strengthened in the areas of "working time" and "part-time work".

Works and staff councils are our most important local partners when it comes to protecting, strengthening and enforcing the rights of employees at theaters. To strengthen them, we regularly offer NV Bühne training courses for works and staff councils.

How to become a member of the bargaining committee

The way to the bargaining committee is through participation in the regional executive committee. There, the assessors represent the diverse perspectives and interests of the members - for example, of a professional group or freelancers. At the national level, the assessors of all seven state associations form a group council for the professional groups solo, opera choir, dance, ATuV and the group of freelancers, whose chairpersons are members of the main board. In addition, the five group council chairpersons, together with the president, form the collective bargaining committee and contribute to collective bargaining negotiations with the German Stage Association.

Click here for the organization chart

The bargaining committee meets every Wednesday from 3 - 5 p.m. for a jour fixe.

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