Collective Bargaining for Atypical Workers: Report from Dublin, 8th September

Working Conditions Labour Rights and Collective Bargaining Status of the Artist EuroFIA

Trade Unions from across Europe, representing workers in the media and culture sectors, have demanded urgent action at European level to strengthen employment rights, in particular for the sector’s growing number of atypical workers. 

In Dublin on the 8-9 September, the NUJ hosted a two day workshop on collective bargaining for atypical workers organised by the four labour federations within Europe representing the audiovisual and live performance sectors: FIA, EFJ, FIM and UNI-MEI. Their joint project “Reaching Out to Atypical Workers” is funded by the European Commission.  

The workshop took stock of the trends in employment in the sector and where unions stand in their efforts to include atypical workers in collective bargaining, highlighting both successes and obstacles. There was a lengthy discussion of the problematic use of competition law to inhibit the rights of atypical workers, despite their comparable status in relation to employees, the minimal disruption of the market, the social benefit delivered by collective bargaining and the long-term damage being inflicted on the quality and sustainability of work in the sector.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King, a keynote speaker at the seminar, told delegates that the denial of employment rights, the upholding of right to collective bargaining and the prevention of imposition of self-employed contracts must be given priority by the European Commission and by national governments. 

Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley and President Andy Smith also used the opportunity to condemn the failure of successive Irish government to address the situation created by a decision of the Competition Authority of Ireland to treat freelance workers as business undertakings and therefore outside the scope of industry.

The four federations will continue to work together in the framework of their joint project and focus their efforts to ensure better conditions for all workers in the sector.

The Atypical Workers project continues with a further two workshops in 2016 (you can read the details regarding the dates, locations, and themes of these workshops on the project page linked to below). You can also access the discussion notes and agendas for the previous workshops on the event pages linked to below.

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