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Accueil  >  Commissions  >  Europe  >  textes en Anglais  >  Dear Public, Dear Artists and Technicians,

Dear Public, Dear Artists and Technicians,

Publié, le mercredi 16 juillet 2003 | Imprimer Imprimer |
Dernière modification : mercredi 16 juillet 2003

We, the artists and technicians of the French performing arts, call on you because our situation has become critical.

Dear Public, Dear Artists and Technicians,

We, the artists and technicians of the French performing arts, call on you because our situation has become critical.

- On the 26th of June 2003, an agreement concerning the unemployment benefit plan specific to our profession was proposed by the French employers confederation (The MEDEF) and ratified by three minority unions (representing less than 10% of the members of our professions).

- If this agreement is then ratified by the French government it will go into effect on the 1st of October 2003.

This agreement would completely change the system of social coverage of the technicians and performing artists of stage, screen and television that has existed in France since 1969 and, as a direct consequence, would jeopardize, or even eliminate, a good number of our artistic productions.
Today we are fighting to block government ratification of this agreement and, as you may already know, a good number of shows and festivals in France have been canceled because many companies have gone on strike.

But the logic underlying this agreement has consequences far beyond the strictly French question.

- a logic of « culture as merchandise » which admits no other value apart from the production of material wealth.
- a logic that undermines the social network of solidarity and excludes those in the most precarious situations.
- a logic that disregards intellectual and social values, that has no place for imagination, utopia, invention, insurrection, the basis of the creative act.

It is also a symptom of a political tendency that is spreading throughout all of Europe ; Europe that, until now, has managed to preserve what is known as « the European cultural exception. » This « cultural exception » means protecting, by means of European laws, the very principle of subsidizing Culture and the refusal to consider Culture as a mere marketable product.

Europe up until now has considered it important to protect its cultural diversity, to protect Culture as a common good and one that is not comparable to simply providing a service.
Nevertheless, in many member countries the social protection for performing artists is still insufficient, or even inexistent, and we need to join forces to fight for efficient social protection in all of Europe.

This « merchandising » logic is exerting increasing pressure to lift all restrictions on the markets and to eliminate the European and national measures protecting Culture.
This logic concerns us all.

We call on all of you - you who, like us, love the magic of the performing arts, you who think that the creation of humane and intellectual riches should be defended as a fundamental value - to join us in the combat to protect and nourish creativity and its artists in France as well as in all the other countries of Europe.


Striking performers are worried about changes to a unique French system that protects them with an unemployment plan covering their downtime between projects.

performing arts festivals

Singers, dancers, actors, choreographers, technicians, circus performers - all sorts of people with seasonal employment in the arts - have united in protest. The object of their wrath is a deal signed last week by three unions with the French employers’ association that would reduce unemployment benefits to 8 months from 12 months a year for workers who do not have full-time work.
The agreement also requires workers in the arts to work 507 hours in 10 months rather than over the course of a year before they are eligible for the benefits.

On June 19 of this year an agreement intervened among the social partners, in the form of an amendment(endorsement) to appendices VIII and X of the agreement UNEDIC, planned(provided for) for the contract workers in show business a specific contribution chargeable to the employers and the employees, leading(driving) to double the rate of subscription.
Yesterday, on the occasion of the exam(examination) to the Senate of the bill concerning contracts - young people, the amendment aiming at giving a legal base to this agreement was presented in the name of the Government by Social Services Minister, the work and the solidarity, François FILLON.
Jean - Jacques AILLAGON, Minister of Culture, is anxious to underline that through this amendment, and according to the preamble of this last one, the purpose of the Government is to guarantee the perpetuity of the particular regime of the contract workers in show business, while allowing to the social partners to strengthen the financing of it.
The Minister reaffirms his profound affection the preservation of the specific conditions of unemployment insurance of the professionals of the intermittence of the show, professional without whom the live performance, the cinema, the audiovisual could not either work, or create. He invites the engaging parties to engage(open) from the comeback a dialogue deepened(fathomed) to define ways and means which will allow to guarantee in a stable way the specificity of the professions by contract workers in show business towards the unemployment insurance, while remedying some of the dysfunctions.

MEDEF, the bosses’ ’union’,

employers’ confederation in a « working document »
collective agreements and employment contracts would completely change this, overturning a reform won by the French working class 45 years ago. Unemployment benefit would become a ’generous gift’

UNEDIC, France’s unemployment benefit system.

renew social dialogue.

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