No agreement in dispute between daimler and swr

No quick settlement in sight in the dispute between daimler and sudwestrundfunk about a hidden-camera tv report. According to swr, the company rejects a settlement. "I think it is right in principle that the court must decide," said a lawyer for the broadcaster at the stuttgart regional court on thursday. In the view of swr, such an agreement would "cement the appearance of an illegal act". His colleague added that the willingness to compromise was "nil.".

Daimler had sued swr for filming with hidden cameras in one of the automaker’s plants. According to the report, daimler employs people who have to supplement their salaries with hartz iv. The carmaker wants to have the footage banned from broadcasting. Swr considers the use to be legal. The presiding judge, christoph stefani, had suggested a compromise to both parties, since swr had recently declared that it did not plan to publish the report again, at least for the time being.

The court also insists on a friendly settlement because, in its view, it is not a fundamental dispute. Even similar cases had to be examined individually again, explained stefani. At the same time, the current constellation is largely uncharted legal territory – and a decision is difficult. "This is a walk on a razor’s edge," said stefani. According to the presiding judge, many aspects must be weighed in the case: the freedom of the press, for example, had to be weighed against daimler’s domiciliary rights and an encroachment on the right to operate a business. In the opinion of the court, it is undisputed that the swr recordings were made unlawfully. Whether the use of the recordings is also unlawful, however, remains to be determined.

A reporter for the station had been hired as an employee with a so-called contract for work at the company’s main plant in unterturkheim. In the process, swr had also filmed with a hidden camera. In may of last year, the station broadcast the report "hungerlohn am fliebband" (starvation wages on the assembly line) based on the recordings. Contracts for work and services are criticized, especially by employee representatives, because employers can use them to temporarily hire people whose pay is not regulated by collective bargaining agreements. But entrepreneurs consider such contracts an important instrument for responding flexibly to peaks in demand, for example.

According to the court, the swr report could possibly show illegal behavior on the part of daimler, as the carmaker had unlawfully given direct instructions to employees with a contract for work. However, this was not the main topic of the article. An exploratory meeting is scheduled for 9. October 2014 take place.