Second condemnation of the Ópera de Oviedo Foundation for having the 76 members of its Choir without an employment contract and, therefore, without registering with Social Security. The Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) of Asturias fully confirms the judgment of the court of first instance who analyzed the case and concludes again that there is an employment relationship between the Opera and the chorus girls, as the Labor Inspection had also resolved. Today the singers, who the foundation that directs the Choir wanted to pose as mere volunteers, only issue invoices for their work, such as those made for specific collaborations, for example, to give a conference.
Backstage labor fraud: the Oviedo Opera Choir had 76 chorus girls without registering Social Security
The magistrate Mª de los Ángeles Andrés Vega, who judged the case for the first time, agreed with the General Treasury of Social Security, which demands 273,247.13 euros from the private non-profit foundation that manages the Oviedo Opera for the contributions unpaid for the last four years due to this labor abuse. Sources from the Ópera de Oviedo Foundation respond to elDiario.es that the entity’s legal services are analyzing this new ruling to assess whether they are appealing the ruling before the Supreme Court or whether they abide by the court ruling.
The magistrates of the TSJ also consider that “the notes and elements of the employment relationship” concur, such as that “it is the defendant company that sets the working time, both in terms of its duration, and the days of realization of the same “, includes the sentence. The Foundation that manages the Opera is also “the one that programmed throughout the year the work to be carried out that lasts for eleven months with one of rest, that of July, being the paradigm of an employment relationship that time cadence of eleven months of work and one of rest “.
Attempt to impersonate
One of the arguments of the Oviedo Opera in the courts and in its public explanations of this labor conflict has been to defend the non-professional nature of its chorus girls, whom it has tried to pass off as volunteers. The character amateur of the singers contrasts with the prestige of the Choir, with a history that dates back to the Casa de Comedias de El Fontán in the 17th century and that today finds its ‘temple’ at the Campoamor Theater.
The Asturian TSJ magistrates maintain that the company determined sanctions, “economic consequences of the unjustified absence from the trials”, which are manifestations “of the managerial power of the employer in terms of the organization and control of work and that conflict with the voluntary nature that is preached by the recurring party. ”
The resource of the Opera states that it is the “voluntariness” that “moves the members of the choir to dedicate part of their free time to rehearsals and staging”, something that contradicts the fact that the singers issued invoices for their services provided, following the annual model 190 as income from work, the judges dismantle in the sentence.
The foundation tries to justify these payments as compensation for expenses to the voluntary choristers, but the TSJ also opposes this argument, given the existing economic sanctions for not attending the trials, among other factors. The judgment, of which the magistrate José Luis Niño Romero has been a speaker, highlights other typical practices of labor relations, such as the existence of days of own affairs, “subject to certain typically labor conditions: prior communication, limitation to 4 of maximum number of people to enjoy it together in each trial and preference rule in order of notice. ”
The Oviedo Opera Culture Foundation, a private non-profit created in 1995, directs the Oviedo Opera and for this it receives public subsidies “that reach the not inconsiderable figure of 835,000 euros per year”, includes the sentence. Public subsidies come both from the City of Oviedo (475,000 euros this 2018), “apart from other benefits in kind valued at 250,000 euros”, as from the Principality of Asturias (110,000 euros this year) and the Ministry of Culture, through the Institute National of the Performing Arts and Music (408,750 euros in 2018). Both the Principality of Asturias and the Oviedo City Council have a seat on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation.