EuroFIA - News details

17.01.2019

Reaching the Full Potential of Social Dialogue for Atypical Workers: Project Update

Participants at the Organising Forum, Rotterdam

Video Message from Michael Crosby

Video Message from Oliver Liang

Keynote Address by Heather Kurzbauer

Speakers Caspar Sachsse and Tina Fritsche from ver.di

The joint FIA, FIM, UNI MEI and EFJ project on atypical work and social dialogue in our sector is reaching the end of its first year. It has been a productive year, with progress made towards the project ambition of developing and expanding experience and know-how on trade union organising of freelancers, self-employed and other atypical workers.

Much of the first phase of our project was dedicated to the identification and recruitment of three freelance trade union trainers with experience of organising atypical workers. These are Becky Wright of Unions 21; Tara O’Dowd of FNV and Kate Elliott, freelancer trainer, formerly of BECTU. Each of the trainers will engage with three candidate unions drawn from the affiliates of the four federations, to coach and support them in devising a national organising strategy, reaching out to atypical workers. This work is scheduled to take place in the course of 2019.

The project also had its first event in the Autumn of 2018, also dedicated to the topic of trade union organising. This brought together both unions with strong results in this area and unions seeking to extend their knowledge and experience. There were two inspiring video messages to delegates to open proceedings. The first was from Michael Crosby, Union organiser and author of “Power at Work” and former general secretary of FIA.  Michael is a staunch advocate of the organising model of unionism,  to increase the organisational capacity of unions and their social and political leverage. The second was from Oliver Liang, who is responsible for the Media, Arts and Culture Sector at the International Labour Organisation. Oliver has a unique insight into the dynamics of the labour market in the sector, at the global level and a strong defender of the collective labour rights of self-employed workers in the sector. Heather Kurzbauer, academic, unionist and professional musician gave a keynote speech, detailing the many challenges in relation to the union organising of freelance, self-employed and other atypical workers.

The rest of the day was dedicated to panels that showcased the very diverse approaches unions in different sectors and sub-sectors at national level have brought to bear on organising and representing atypical workers. This is reflected in the agenda, which is available for download below. The various presentations made are also available below to logged-in FIA members. The event concluded with sessions led by the three trainers, showcasing their experience and different approaches to trade union organisers. It was also a first opportunity for the unions actively participating in the project to develop their own national organising strategy to meet with and get to know the three project trainers.

We look forward to the ongoing work of the trainers in 2019, which will be shared with a wider audience in a final project event, open to EuroFIA affiliates, which is tentatively scheduled for the end of this year.

Programme of the Organising Forum

Presentations made: