Working Groups are peer-to-peer learning sessions, in which the participants, led by an expert, learn from each other experiences and share good practices to face common problems on specific issues.

WG #1: Know Your Law

Tallinn, June 2018

A review of the most recent initiatives following from the European pillar of Social rights and other EU initiatives, the session will also look at the state of play in member states in relation to posting of workers. Participants can also raise issues that they come across in their respective country. proposals and changes in European labour law of importance to managing work relations in performing arts organisations.

The Pillar of Social Rights contains a number of legislative and non-legislative proposals, among which a proposal to help working parents and carers manage their family life and their professional career, updates to the EU health and safety legislation,  a proposal for more predictable and transparent working conditions (former written statement directive and information directive), and a recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed.

In addition to new proposals, delivering on the Pillar also means to ensure the take-up of rights and the actual implementation and enforcement of legislation. For instance, the Commission has come forward with a proposal for a European Labour Authority, which will help to enforce rules on labour mobility in a fair, simple and effective way. The Commission will come forward also with a proposal on a European Social Security Number (ESSN) for all citizens.

Let by Ilka Schmalbauch, Deutscher Bühnenverein


WG #2: #METOO: How to deal with and eradicate issues such as sexual harassment, mobbing, etc from the workplace

Tallinn, June 2018

The 2017 #metoo campaign has played a crucial role in drawing attention to the reality that issues such as sexual harassment or mobbing are still a fact of life in the workplace. Employers associations should take the initiative to be instrumental in providing the necessary mechanisms and measures to eradicate these unacceptable behaviours from the workplace and from society as a whole.

In several member states initiatives are undertaken to raise awareness, establish mechanisms for prevention and offer support for victims.

According to European legislation (see above) sexual harassment means ‘where any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.’

Questions that can be addressed in this session are: What makes sexual harassment and dignity in our sector so specific? what about the boundaries between the artistic freedom and dignity? How do we as deal with this sometimes very thin line and how can one support those that are sexually harassed? What kind of policy can be taken in organisations? What in the case nearly-adults are taking part in the performance? And how can we work together with unions and other civil society organisations on this subject?

Led by Liesbeth Dejonghe, OKO


WG #3: Gender equality is not an option – Initiatives aimed at establishing gender equality in our organisations

Tallinn, June 2018

The European Pillar of Social Rights places great emphasis on its commitment to a Union which promotes equality between men and women as well as rights and equal opportunities for all.[1]

Gender equality and gender mainstreaming are topics currently being discussed in our sector in many ways in relation to employment, the challenges related to the nature of our work or issues related to ageing and opportunities.

In addition employers gender imbalances in management and on boards of organisations in the sector have also been observed. From the example of the Abbey Theatre in Ireland, where in 2016 the campaign #WakingtheFeminists took place, it is learned that cultural leaders are not always aware or take into consideration the gender imbalance in the programming (composers, writers, stage directors, …) and composition of the artistic teams and other people working with or for their organization. The theatre installed a Gender Equality Committee and developed a set of guiding principles on gender equality. In France, the social partners concluded an agreement on gender equality which adheres employers and workers to take actions where needed and which would reduce gender imbalances in the sector.

At European level, the social partners in the audiovisual sector initiated a framework of action on gender equality and started to monitor the state of play on the implementation of the action.So what initiatives can be taken in an organization to reduce gender imbalances? What would be the occupations or categories particularly to look at? What are the areas which are ‘vulnerable’? is an agreement a good option to achieve change? What would work in your opinion?

Supported by the expert involvement of the EIGE, this session further explores methods and tools that employers can use in their respective organisations as well as ways to raise awareness or indicators that sectoral associations may use.

Led by Alexandra Bobes, Les Forces Musicales

[1] Point 7, page 6 European Pillar of Social Rights


WG #4: Implementing Diversity in the Live Performance Sector

Antwerp, November 2018

Organisations that embrace a diverse workforce and are inclusive to all tend to deliver better results, innovate more and are able to take better decisions. The European Pillar of Social Rights’ makes clear references to the need to achieve gender equality, equal opportunities and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace[1], while the European Commission’s commitment in favour of diversity and inclusion among its own staff was recently made clear by the publication of a Diversity and Inclusion Charter in July 2017.

Yet while the need to make diversity a reality in our organisations is indisputable actually achieving it in practice seems to be proving harder than it looked. Following on from the discussions about gender equality and equal opportunities that took place in the first BtS meeting in Tallinn, and on this occasion joined by managers from local artistic organisations, this working group will look at the strengths and weaknesses behind how diversity is being implemented in the live performance sector with the aim of identifying clear steps towards making workplace diversity a reality, offering a diverse programme and reaching out to diverse audiences.

Arts organisations based in Antwerp will present from the daily practice the challenges, hurdles, successes and approaches to diversity in their own respective organisations. Danielle … from ‘De Roma’ which is based in a part of Antwerp with a demographically highly diverse population in terms of ethnic background and age will present the experience of implementing diversity, including in its very large network of volunteers on which it relies.

Led by Danielle Dierckx, De Roma

[1] Chapter I, points 2 & 3, Chapter III, point 17



WG #5: 20th Anniversary EC Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee Live Performance: Time to talk: moving forward with social dialogue

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the EC Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Live Performance in which Pearle*, FIM (International Federation of Musicians), FIA (International Federation of Actors) and UNI-MEI (global union in the media, entertainment, and arts) are social partners. Together with Health & Safety, Training & Skills, Working Abroad and Public Funding, one of the key areas on which the Committee is focused is precisely Social Dialogue and the role of the social partners (e.g. capacity building and exchanging information).

Given that such a significant anniversary for the Social Dialogue Committee is taking place at a time where such specific emphasis is being placed on the importance of social dialogue, it seems natural to take advantage of this opportunity to reflect on where we are now and above all future concerns and challenges in the context of the changing nature of labour markets and societies.

After a brief general introduction from the representatives of the social partners, the Plenary will divide into three working groups in order to facilitate a dynamic and detailed discussion around the challenges identified and ‘ways forward for social dialogue’, with the aim of encouraging renewed and fruitful collaboration between the social partners through actions or practices that could be jointly undertaken by Employers and Unions in order to continue contributing to a Europe that delivers for its workers and enterprises.[1]

With Johannes Studinger (UniMei) & Thomas Dayan (FIM Musicians)

[1] European Pillar of Social Rights. Preamble, point 7, page 6



WG #6: How to implement the employment and integration of refugees, migrants and foreign workers in the live performance sector

All across the board and in order to promote an environment of equality, companies and organisations are recognizing the need to include underrepresented groups in their workforce, from racial and ethnic minorities to women in management positions, or to those who identify as LGBTQ.

This workshop will be looking at two initiatives that are currently taking place in France and Germany. Ricardo Esteban, director of development of the arts organisation PetitBain in Paris, will present “Hope Musiques”, a programme aimed at training refugees to become electricians in the performing arts sector being run within the framework of a broader project called HOPE – Hébergement orientation parcours vers l’emploi.

step2mice is a pilot project underway in Germany, the aim of which is to promote the employment and integration of refugees, migrants and foreign workers into the MICE industry and to build up skilled workers for the future. It will be introduced by Tommy Neumann from VPLT (Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany), one of the project partners.

After hearing briefly from both invited speakers about how their projects were put into action and the results so far, the working group will go into a discussion that will contemplate the logistics and practicalities that the launch of initiatives of this kind involve.

With Ricardo Esteban (Petit Bain) and Tommy Neumann (VLPT)


WG #7: Skills in the live performance sector. What next?

The importance placed on training and skills is clearly illustrated in the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights that states … Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market[1].

 Over its 25 years of existence Pearle* has been involved in numerous projects on skills and competences, often in collaboration with the unions and/or the education sector. In the sector, many employers organisations are involved in this broad subject in different ways.

In the context of the BtS project, we have already held two sessions on skills: one led by UK Theatre on skills for off stage jobs and another on skills for musicians, including an exchange with the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC).

At the same time Pearle has been involved in ‘Creative Skills Europe’, a project in the live performance and audio-visual sectors which has just ended. Based on the conclusions of the project the social partners are currently working on a new project application to give it continuity. The application which is due by mid-June intends to focus on awareness-raising or training in the sector, the skills needed in the digital environment and the development of joint partnerships.

Pearle* is also part of the ‘creating an entrepreneurial mindset’ working group within the SMS project run by AEC. Finally, Pearle is awaiting news from an application for funding with Erasmus Plus on the creation of a VETNET-network of training providers in theatre techniques to develop VET tools.

It is also worth remembering that Pearle and more precisely members of Pearle have been involved in the update of the taxonomy of occupations and skills/competences for our sector in a dedicated ESCO reference group, chaired by our former Finnish member Matti Holopainen. ESCO is a European Commission initiative aiming to bring the worlds of work and training closer to each other. It is expected that an update of the ESCO profiles will take place in 2020 in which Pearle would be expected to continue its role.

The fact that skills are a major goal for the EU and for a great number of sectors, has led to the Commission’s proposal to double the budget for Erasmus Plus in the future (2021-2027). This is a clear signal of the importance that the EU attaches to education, training and lifelong learning. It will also be an opportunity to tap support and resources for dedicated projects and actions.

The participants at this working group will actively contribute towards the aim of this session, which is to bring together the different threads and set out the lines for future work and activities, based on priorities and goals.

[1] European Pillar of Social Rights. Chapter I, point 1, page 11