Musicians Union calls for end to expectations artists will work for free while everyone else gets paid for their time

A musicians’ pressure group says its members are being emotionally blackmailed into performing free of charge at charity events – while everyone else involved in the shows are being paid.

The UK’s Musicians Union wants an end to the practice and is calling for a law to be passed which gives people the option to decide whether or not to work for nothing.

At next month’s Trade Union Congress conference in London, the MU will present a motion saying: “It is extremely unfair to put professional musicians into a situation where they are emotionally blackmailed into working for no fee, and are asked to give their services to a good cause.

“It is particularly unjust when others associated with the event, such as venue staff and lawyers, are being paid.”

The union adds they have nothing against people supporting good causes, but they should have the freedom to choose whether or not they do so.

In the same motion the MU will back efforts to secure better deals for low-paid interns, saying: “It is unfair for interns, who are often employed full-time, not to be paid the going rate for the work they do – just as it is wrong that performing artists are expected to work for nothing when they are engaged for charitable and fundraising events.”

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