The EURO-MEI General Assesembly decided to setup permanent working groups in the  three main sectors, broadcasting, film &TV production and live performance to steer project and campaigns of UNI MEI in Europe. The Live Performance Working Group has been set-up at the beginning of this year and met for the first time on 6 June 2019 in Brussels. The Working Group brings together unions from across Europe that represent workers in the live performance sector. The objective of the Working Group is to provide a platform for these unions to discuss common issues, to establish a network of live performance unions in Europe, and to plan for joint activities, such as projects or campaigns.

The aim of the first meeting was to take stock of the current situation in the sector in the different countries, and to agree on the next steps for the Working Group.

During a roundtable several topics arose as common to the sector in the different countries. Across  Europe social security systems are going through a change, affecting unemployment benefits and pensions. The lack of clarity concerning access to social security is a threat to the mobility of workers in the sector, affecting their careers and opportunities.

The changing nature of the employment relationship is impacting the sector in many countries. Instead of permanent contracts, a big part of the sector is working as freelancers, self-employed, on zero-hour contracts, and as unpaid interns. An arising trend is the use of volunteers and amateurs of the sector instead of paid performers.

Regarding equality and diversity, we currently have an opportunity in the Live Performance Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee to make progress, as the employers have agreed to a joint project on equality. This project will take a broad look at gender equality in the sector, including issues such as gender equality in production, work-life balance, and harassment. This will hopefully make equality a permanent part of the work programme of the social dialogue committee and lead to concrete improvements for the sector.

The Working Group will address these issues as priorities to come up with join strategies and action. The next meeting of the Working Group is planned for 9 October.