Film & TV production is facing profound changes across the world. Globalisation and digitalisation are transforming not only the business models of the entertainment industry but are changing the way entertainment is produced, distributed and consumed. While economic, technological and structural changes are taking place, entertainment remains very labour intensive and depends on a highly qualified and mobile workforce.
In many countries, working conditions in the entertainment industry have deteriorated and barriers to the negotiation of collective agreements persist. In too many countries, no minimum standards protect entertainment workers. Long working hours and the recurrent use of overtime, unpaid work and the exploitation of new entrants in the labour market are common. A UNI MEI survey among 2500 workers revealed that for the vast majority of them salaries and wages have either stagnated or decreased over the past years. When asked how to best describe the evolution of working conditions, over eighty percent of workers who responded to the survey affirmed that conditions had either not changed or had deteriorated.
Trade unions and workers who want to organise colleagues in order to enter in a dialogue with employers on conditions and pay often face hostility and discrimination. In a freelance labour market, the threat of being blacklisted can jeopardise not only a job but also can put an end to a career. Under the banner of competition policy, several national authorities have prohibited self-employed workers from joining or forming unions and from bargaining collectively implying that they are to be treated in the same way as big and powerful entertainment companies, with whom the authorities insist they need to bargain one-to-one. This is cementing a culture of unfairness and is threatening the sustainability of the industry in the long term. To achieve sustainable growth and quality jobs, these issues need to be addressed and fairness and dignity at work need to be improved.
The increasing number of professionals who speak out about sexual harassment and violence at work indicates that this problem is wide-spread in the sector. For many workers and unions, this issue has become a key priority for action. Recent research suggests that sector-specific features such as broader gender-based discrimination and the widespread use of non-standard forms of work strongly encourage sexual harassment. Although violence and sexual harassment affects all media and entertainment workers, cases of harassment and violence against those who work behind screen or set are often less made public.
Our campaign dignity@work aims at bringing about a change of culture in film and TV production. This change needs to be built on union action, dialogue with employers and cooperation with governments as well as the funding bodies.
Find out more: www.dignityatwork-campaign.org