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Over the last decade, industrial developments, new forms of work organization, outsourcing and the use of new technologies have increasingly contributed to an erosion of the so -called conventional employment and working arrangements. The term ‘employment relationship’ has been traditionally associated with a concept of ‘regular employment’, which has three main characteristics: it is full-time, indefinite and part of a dependent, subordinate employment relationship. Also new trends in work organization characterized by unconventional work patterns and places of work, or by the irregular provision of work. have contributed to transforming the traditional one-to-one relationship between employer and employee. While these developments can contribute to labour market innovation, they have resulted in increased labour market segmentation and a widespread acceptance of fragmented jobs that are inherently linked to poor job quality, low income and limited social protection. Those developments have contributed to increase the manifold expressions of atypical and non-standard forms of work contractual relationships present in various sectors of the labour market. The growth of own account and self-employed workers is one of the manifestations of those trends while being an established feature of sectors such as Media, Arts and Entertainment . An increased presence of own account workers is also highly prevalent more broadly in the sector of services (ICT, transport, tourism, hotel and catering) and construction.
The phenomenon of dependent and bogus self-employment can also be regarded as part of the trend towards increasing labour market flexibility. There are signs that the number of such workers will continue to rise significantly in the coming years. The working conditions of atypical workers in European labour markets may be characterized by different levels of precariousness and vulnerability. Those include: little or no job security or legal/conventional/contractual protection, insecure, low or inadequate income which does not reflect the work that is being performed, absence of proper social protection in case of unemployment, incapacity and limited trade union representation or collective bargaining coverage. This has led ILO labour law experts to confirm at a 2015 expert meeting that non-standard forms of employment exhibit a higher incidence of ‘decent work deficits’.
In response to those developments trade unions active in certain work sectors -with an important proportion of atypical workers and own account workers- have started reflecting on how to address new forms of employments. Debates which have been taking place and notably in the media and live entertainment sector and across other sectors have addressed the question of not only ensuring that social dialogue mechanisms can address atypical workers’ issues, which means extending the reach of collective bargaining practices but also ensuring the sound implementation of core international labour standards and equality and non-discrimination principles for all workers.
But If the sound implementation of European regulatory tools put into place to protect atypical workers through Directive 97/81/EC on part-time work and Directive 1999/70/EC on fixed-term work are part of those efforts, there is still a prevailing legislative gap when it comes to ensuring the protection of own account workers and addressing the phenomenon of false self-employment in European law.
The growth of new forms of employment across sectors across EU member states necessitates more than ever that the EU, social partners in cooperation with social economy organization’s and other stakeholders reflect on how to strengthen protections for all workers in a complex and continuously evolving labour market.


THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ACTORS (FIA) - is a global federation of performers’ trade unions, guilds and professional associations. Based in Brussels, FIA’s main purpose is to voice the professional interests of actors (in film, television, radio, digital media, theatre and live performance), broadcast professionals, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others.

CHARHON CONSULTANTS provided support to the International Federation of Actors (FIA) to carry out research, coordination within the framework of the project entitled “Reaching out to Atypical Workers: organising and representing workers with Atypical Contracts in the Live Performance and Audiovisual Sectors”.(2015-2016).
The core activities of the project have included the organisation of four European workshops and a final conference designed to enable a cross-fertilisation of the experiences of trade unions active in the Audiovisual and Live Performance sectors across the EU Member States.
CHARHON CONSULTANTS supported FIA and its partners and its partners (UNIMEI, FIM,EFJ) in a variety of ways which included:

  • the preparation of research based policy briefings on specific themes to be addressed in the project’ workshops on the issue of atypical workers and trends in employment status in the Live performance and Audiovisual sectors.
  • drawing out the experience, commonalities, challenges and good practice presented and discussed during the project workshops;
  • Co-drafting the Project Handbook;

  • FIA Deputy Secretary General Dearbhal Murphy said:
    "we have appreciated the commitment, energy and professional work of Pascale Charhon on this project." (May 2017)