Organising freelancers in the Media, Arts and Entertainment Sector
The media, arts and entertainment sector is characterised by a high rate of freelance, self-employed or otherwise “atypical” workers, who are difficult to organise for trade unions. Drawing on the key findings of a two-year EU-funded project, four trade union federations EURO-MEI, FIA, FIM and EFJ publish a handbook on Trade Union Organising in the Media, Arts and Entertainment Sector.
The project was led by the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and UNI Europa's Media, Entertainment & Arts Sector (EURO-MEI). The project involved nine national-level 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.
The publication draws directly on the experience of the national trade unions active in this project and the lessons they have learned in this process. It also describes how trainers approached the organising challenge in different national unions and contexts and how the participating unions have implemented or renewed their organising strategies towards freelancers and self-employed workers.
The publication offers inspiration and ideas to the many unions and their 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.
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.