News Detail

09.09.2016

Meeting the challenge of atypical working: Final event and launch of the new handbook

The Media, Arts and Entertainment sector has seen significant changes in the structure of the labour market and in the organisation of work both within and outside the framework of the traditional employment relationships – with an established trend towards various forms of atypical working arrangements.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Actors (FIA), UNI MEI and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) have today launched a handbook on ‘The Future of Work in the Arts, Media & Entertainment Sector', outlining conclusions and recommendations addressing atypical work in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector. The launch of the handbook coincides with an event, co-organised by the four federations on how to meet the challenge of atypical working, taking place on 8 and 9 September in Brussels.

The Arts, Media and Entertainment sector is characterised by project-based work and freelancing traditions which means it is likely to be ahead of the curve and show trends now that will likely expand in the future with new working relationships driven, among other things, by the rise of internet platforms and other forms of digital working. Working conditions of atypical workers in European labour markets show a range of factors that could contribute to precariousness and vulnerability

-        little or no job security or legal/conventional/contractual protection;

-        insecure, low or inadequate income;

-        absence of worker choice regarding basic working conditions such as workplace, job description, working time, etc;

-        absence of proper social protection in case of unemployment, pregnancy and maternity, incapacity (e.g. sickness, accidents) and old age;

-        low health and safety standards;

-        limited access to training opportunities;

-        limited trade union representation or collective bargaining coverage.

There are growing concerns amongst unions, and indeed policy-makers, that many forms of work arrangements do not provide workers with adequate protection and are increasingly resulting in precarious work. Regulatory frameworks, enforcement and labour inspections systems, active labour market policies and the judicial systems will need updating to be accessible to all workers, regardless of the nature of their employment relationship or work arrangement.

MEP Agnes Jongerius, who hosted this event, noted that "As the debates today have highlighted, the world of work in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector has changed significantly and will continue to evolve. Industrial relations and social dialogue must evolve too, to respond to the needs of workers in the 21st Century. Policy-makers must ensure that workers are not deprived of access to their fundamental labour and social rights, due to their employment status. This will only deepen existing inequalities."

Esther Lynch, Confederal Secretary at ETUC, noted that "atypical work and the associated challenges identified in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector are undoubtedly becoming increasingly prevalent across the wider labour market, also with the rise of digital platforms and the collaborative economy. Workers need greater protection and the proposed European Pillar of Social Rights currently being drafted by the EU Commission should include a right to effective enforcement of employment rights ".

Dominick Luquer, General Secretary of the International Federation of Actors (FIA) reflected on the work that still lies ahead for the sector saying: “the sectoral trade unions have taken heart today from the political will and excellent strategic thinking this event has generated. Certainly we will redouble our efforts in relation to new strategies to reach out to atypical workers and join hands with other sectors facing the same challenges”.

Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa, the European Services Workers Union concluded: “The EU and Member states must ensure that all workers in Europe today have decent working conditions and that all benefit from a common, high level social protection. This must apply to all workers, online and offline, regardless of their employment status, of the type of their contract, regardless of whatever sector they are working in. It's a fundamental right which we as unions will defend at any price. Workers are workers are workers. Full stop.”

Read and/or download the handbook here: