In partnership with the team at Kindred PR, the MU yesterday launched its campaign to combat harassment in the music industry. This follows our recent survey of members into the issue, which highlights the disturbing number of incidents that have occurred in recent years.
Our collective PR work has seen eleven national pieces of coverage, including The Guardian (both in print and online), BBC News online, Independent, Sky News online and ITV News online. All are quality pieces of coverage and include the survey statistics in depth, as well as quotes from Naomi Pohl, MU Deputy General Secretary, alongside case studies (some of which are understandably anonymous).
The MU campaign aiming to prevent sexual harassment at work follows on from our valuable work running the Safe space service and campaigning to improve the culture of the music industry, we are now asking the government to introduce legislation specifically to protect freelancers.
Our concern is that current proposals to change the law to protect more workers, championed by the TUC with their #Thisisnotworking campaign, do not include sufficient protections for the majority of our members.
We know from experience that freelancers are particularly vulnerable because they do not have clear avenues to report harassment at work and their engagers do not know how to handle any complaints appropriately. Our members also tell us that they do not report harassment because of the workplace culture in music.
The lack of legal protection compounds the issues that already affect our members working in music: the extreme power imbalances that can exist (‘I can make or break your career’), night-time working, alcohol consumption at gigs and festivals and contracts that are heavily weighted towards the engager or rights owner.
Many people, mostly women, who have approached the Union via the Safespace service have been unable to speak out about their experiences because of threats of legal action or retaliation by the harasser or abuser. Often it is the survivor who leaves the workplace and the perpetrator who remains.
In addition to the items in the national media, we have also secured coverage in music-focused publications (NME and Classic FM), as well as widespread regional pick-up from PA Media (previously Press Association).
Sky News Radio
Aberdeen Evening Express
Express & Star
The Mail (Barrow-in-Furness)
This Is Wiltshire
Gazette News (Essex)
The National (Scotland)
This Is Oxfordshire