Google has agreed to meet with The YouTubers Union, but will not negotiate with it.
The community-based movement — which was founded by German creator Jörg Sprave (2.2 million subscribers), has around 20,000 members, and last month teamed up with IG Metall, Europe’s largest labor union — gave YouTube’s parent company a deadline of today to respond to its list of complaints about how the platform treats its creators. If Google did not respond on time, the unions intended to file a lawsuit in Germany claiming YouTube’s practice of demonetizing creators’ videos without providing them with an explanation as to why is in violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
This morning, just hours before the clock ran out, Google sent word that it would meet with the union at its Berlin office, CNET reports. However, it apparently doesn’t plan to actually do anything about the creators’ grievances.
“We explained to the union in great detail what YouTube is doing in terms of transparency and support for YouTubers,” a company representative told CNET. “But we have also made clear that we are not going to negotiate their demands.”
What are those demands, exactly? Well, after The YouTuber Union partnered with IG Metall, Sprave and Metall VP Christiane Benner submitted an open letter to Google laying out what they want. Per the letter, they’re primarily asking (as we mentioned above) that YouTube begin offering creators “precise” explanations about decisions it makes regarding their content and channels, such as demonetizing them and removing videos. The letter also asks YouTube to establish an internal ‘Partner Advisory Board’ that will weigh in when YouTube makes changes to policies that affect creators.
Sprave told CNET The YouTubers Union and IG Metall are accepting Google’s invitation, and plan to “discuss some fundamental questions about the future of work” on YouTube.
“We did not ask them to bow to our demands within the deadline, we just asked them to enter into talks with us,” he said. “They did that, and we are very happy with our campaign success so far. But of course there is plenty of work ahead of us. The clock is paused, not stopped.”
In a post announcing Google’s decision to The YouTubers Union, Benner added, “We succeeded in bringing Google to the table. We are looking forward to the talks and want a quick appointment. There we will see what changes YouTube is prepared to make.”