ILO : Report from the Tripartite Meeting on the Future of Work and Quality in the Information Society

The Media, Culture and Graphical Sector

Intellectual property, the rights of freelances and independent contractors (including disguised employment, ambiguous employment, genuine self-employment and triangular relationships) and lifelong training were some of the key issues at the Tripartite Meeting on the Future of Work and Quality in the Information Society. It was the first time that the International Labour Organization (ILO) held a tripartite meeting with focus on the media, cultural and graphical sector.

The meeting took place in October 2004 and representatives from media employers, media employees and freelances and governments around the world participated. The IFJ delegation con-sisted of IFJ President Chris Warren, IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, President of the Newspaper Guild of the USA Linda Foley and Chair of the EFJ Authors’ Rights Expert Group Anne Louise Schelin.

In spite of conflict of interests between the three parties and big differences from country to country the meeting managed to reach forward-looking consensus on several points – among them on the important issues mentioned above.

Below are selected excerpts from the conclusions.

On Freelances and other Non-permanently Employed

• The quality of content is a result of an intellectual or artistic achievement and often lies at the core of a contractual or other work relationship. Increasing use of independent contrac-tors in media and entertainment affects the balance between individual content providers and enterprises that commercialize their work.

• There is a trend towards freelance, self-employed or informal economy work. This can mean that such workers can no longer depend on legislative provisions on social security, even in countries where social security has good coverage.

• Trust and mutual understanding are essential for effective social dialogue, even in periods of industrial conflict. Equally important is the need to identify how social dialogue can cover the interests and needs of all workers in the sector.

• ILO should explore means to provide protection to content providers not adequately covered by collective bargaining procedures, reaffirming the importance of social dialogue.

On Authors’ Rights and Related Rights (Intellectual Property Rights)

• Employers and creative workers share a strong interest in the role of copyright and neighbouring rights in innovation and creation. Such rights should be strongly protected in the context of new technologies on the basis of international instruments in this field and in agreement with core labour standards as reflected in the Declaration on Fundamental Princi-ples and Rights at Work.

On Quality Content and Quality in Work

• Information and Communication Technology (ICT) should spur the development of decent work and access to information, but risk promoting a standardized model in the media that might undermine multilingualism, cultural diversity and local languages.

• The media sector has a social and cultural dimension in addition to its economic and techni-cal sides. Quality of employment is linked to the product because of the strong elements of creativity, skills, professionalism and dedication required of workers in the sector.

On life long learning

• Constant training should be the norm.

• Governments, employers and workers should renew their commitment to lifelong learning: governments by investing and creating the conditions to enhance education and training at all levels; enterprises by training their employees; and individuals by making use of the edu-cation, training and lifelong learning opportunities.

• The ILO should undertake research on best practices in training and employability in the sector in different regions and countries, and promote training and retraining in the use of in-formation technologies by the social partners and learning institutions.

All the conclusions can be found at:

Anne Louise Schelin

Chair of the EFJ Authors’ Rights Expert Group