the media and entertainment union
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Harassment in theatres:

25 January 2018

BECTU wants all theatre workers to enjoy dignity at work but it's clear from the latest survey into bullying and harassment published in The Stage (Thursday 25 January) that many do not.

Commenting on the report, which we encourage all members to read, BECTU has said:

"A lot of theatre work may take place in the shadows but responses to this necessary survey point to a pressing need to shine a modern light on employment practice within theatre. 

"Whether you're working as staff or freelance, and whatever your job, dignity at work should be yours and everyone has a role to play in delivering that. 

"That message, backed by sound policies and investment in staff should be alive in all theatres. All theatre employers have a legal duty here and they also need to create the right environment to support those who suffer mistreatment. We in BECTU are ready to play our part."

This issue is hugely important

"The issue of bullying and harassment at work is hugely important to the union, whatever the sector" said Helen Ryan, assistant national secretary.

"Without fair and decent treatment staff cannot deliver their best, with possible repercussions for their health, family life and security of employment.

"Employers, with the support and engagement of unions, must do more to tackle the workplace bullies who make the lives of others a misery."

BECTU believes that the issue should be brought out into the open, to send the clearest possible message to all staff that bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated. Some theatre employers are reviewing their practice in this area in light of the Weinstein revelations. 

"We hope that all of our members know that if they have an issue with bullying and harassment at work that they can speak to an official in confidence to take advice on the best ways forward," Helen Ryan said. 

More transparency

BECTU has called for company policy on bullying and harassment to be made easily available to all to encourage more reporting of mistreatment. Arguably, staff should have easier access to company policy as they have more time in the workplace; however that same policy and access to it also needs to be extended to freelancers who are likely to find it more challenging to pursue these issues because their work is short term. 


Followers of union activity in this area may recall the Federation of Entertainment Unions' 2013 survey and conference dubbed Creating without Conflict. The conference produced a report and guidance to staff and freelancers. Download our 2014 report Bullying: What are you going to do when it happens to you?

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