News Detail

11.06.2015

FIA World Live Performance Conference – THE STAGE / Michael Quinn

 by Michael Quinn

A “common vision” is needed by artists working within the live performance sector if they are to “defend against the driving down of wage costs and employment rights”. This was one of the starkest warnings issued at the Second World Live Performance Conference of the International Federation of Actors, held in Dublin, Ireland.

With pressures mounting on existing employment agreements, Seamus Dooley from the National Union of Journalists, Ireland, warned that many employers now regard “collective representation as an economic nuisance” and that, if left unchallenged, such an attitude would lead to employment in the creative sector becoming even more precarious than it already is. Recognising that “freedom of association is problematic in many countries”, Johannes Studinger, head of UNI-MEI, called on the sector to “reach out to freelance and self-employed workers” in order to strengthen negotiating rights at a time of growing “antipathy towards the plight of the creative industries”.

John Myers, former ILO education, culture and media specialist, called on performers to insist on “a commercial contractual, rather than employment, relationship” with employers, echoing many others in insisting that artists should assert their rights as “workers, not employees”. While Myers also called on unions to “work together on gathering better data as the best way to develop an agreeable code of practice”, Dooley cautioned against any lessening of existing, hard-won rights: “The right to collective bargaining without the right to strike is about as useful as a eunuch in a brothel.”

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