2020: Handbook on Trade Union Organising in the Media, Arts and Entertainment Sector

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This Handbook on Trade Union Organising is the outcome of a joint project by the four European trade union federations in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector, namely: the International Federation of Actors (FIA); the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), UNI Europa – Media, Entertainment & Arts (EURO-MEI) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). The project, entitled “Reaching the Full Potential of Social Dialogue for Atypical Workers” focused on the challenge of union representation of workers in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector, who are freelance, self-employed or otherwise atypical workers. The project was funded via the European Commission’s DG Employment and Social Affairs budget line for Information and Training Measures for Workers’ Organisations. It ran throughout 2018 and 2019, with a concluding event held in Dublin in February 2020.

The two main strands of the project focused firstly, on organising and recruiting atypical workers to the trade unions in the sector and secondly, on addressing the legal obstacles that may arise when seeking to collectively bargain on their behalf. This handbook draws directly on the experience that was gained in the framework of the first project strand: it offers an in-depth focus on the challenge of organising atypical workers in the sector, drawing on the experience of the different participating trade unions.

The project involved nine trade unions, who volunteered to participate in the project; as well as three project trainers, who each engaged with three unions by visiting them in their national context and offering training, experience and feedback. This Handbook draws together the key findings from those project actions. It reports on the process and the challenges encountered in undertaking this training and organising action. It highlights how trainers approached the organising challenge in different national unions and contexts, adapting their approach as needed. It gives a deeper insight into some of the techniques used and closes by giving an overview of the some of the new organising and recruitment initiatives that resulted from it. It offers inspiration and ideas to the many unions in the sector which are facing the shared challenge of adapting to the challenges of a changing workforce and industrial landscape. In particular, it looks at the pressing need to reach out and be able to represent the freelance, self-employed or otherwise atypical workers in the sector.

The Project coordinator and trainers have also prepared a brief video introduction to this publication.

The Handbook is illustrated by Caspar de Kiefte of Kunstenbond, who also participated in the project steering committee.

You can now download the Handbook in English, French, German, Spanish and Polish.

On the 4th of July 2020, just a few short months after the end of the project, our project trainer Kate Elliott very suddenly passed away. This was a shock and a sad blow to all involved with the project work. The project had been an opportunity for the Federations and their affiliates to get to know Kate, her dedication, her commitment and her always kind and hands-on approach to union work. She made a real difference to the unions she trained and we are glad at least that her words and photos are included here; a testimony to her talent.

We dedicate this Handbook to Kate.

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