Public employees who work in this sector often are furloughed and terminated as “non-essential” when elected leaders face declining revenues.

The absence of arts and culture has diminished the richness of our lives in a time of isolation

These are workers who ensure that our public museums are maintained, our history is catalogued and studied and our libraries are supported. This work is crucial to a thriving society and too often overlooked in an economic race to the bottom.

The pandemic has exacerbated existing discrimination against people of colour, women, and migrant workers in culture, who are amongst the first to be threatened with redundancy or furlough.

Many self-employed cultural workers have found all of their work cancelled suddenly and dramatically for the foreseeable future.

The public has discovered how much the absence of arts and culture has diminished the richness of our lives in a time of isolation.

Sign the Manifesto
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Photo: Ilyas Tayfun Salci @PSI/Shutterstock.com

London / United Kingdom - August 29 2020: Culture and arts industry workers stage a demonstration to protest job cuts due to Covid-19 outside the National Theatre.

Arts and culture have the ability to bring people together

The necessary closure of cultural centres and workplaces due to national and localised lockdowns, has directly impacted workers such as musicians, artists, actors, performers, film makers, education leaders, and socially and community engaged cultural workers, as well as the wider cultural workforce with whom they interact.

The provision of cultural services is essential to humanity and plays a key role in pandemic recovery and healing, as well as communication about human rights, equality, justice and more. Arts and culture have the ability to bring people together, to break down barriers, to heal, to provide a platform for important debates; and to simply bring joy, entertainment and relaxation.

The sector also benefits the economy greatly and is thus a key component for true economic recovery.

We need a zero Covid-19 strategy that takes us forward, that leaves nobody behind, that promotes and embraces equality and not a return to business as usual regarding political, economic, and cultural agency; whose voices are given a platform; and whose arts are embraced. The cultural sector, whilst multi-cultural in terms of engagement and participation, can also be guilty of institutional and systemic discrimination. Open and inclusive cultural services are vital to the future health of democracy in all communities and societies.

Cultural workers cannot be the victims of a crisis created by budget cuts and ill-advised political choices

The crisis that the cultural sector now faces must be considered in the context of the impacts of over a decade of austerity with cuts devastating the sector and deepening discrimination.

Whilst we need urgent action by governments to sustain the sector and ensure that all cultural workers, whatever their employment, receive the necessary economic and social support to survive the pandemic, we also need a forward-facing strategy of recovery, protection from further austerity measures with equality at its heart.

We object to the commodification of culture and the policing of borders limiting cultural engagements across communities. We reject the precarious treatment of workers in the sector and call for investment and access for all. Cultural workers cannot be the victims of a crisis created by budget cuts and ill-advised political choices. Our joint initiative must start from the protection of workers and the demand for job security.

Our demands and strategic aims for the future include:

  1. Expanding participation from every segment of our society to establish meaningful cultural democracy;

  2. Establishing dignified working conditions, including the modification of contractual benefits and terms to end precarious and irregular work and provide decent pensions, sick pay, holiday pay, and union negotiation for self-employed cultural workers;

  3. End exploitation of cultural workers through low and unequal pay; during this pandemic, we call for financial assistance for workers, including increased unemployment insurance, and assistance for essentials such as food and housing;

  4. Establish recognition and collective bargaining agreements with cultural institutions employing cultural workers;

  5. Ensure the distribution of publicly funded pandemic recovery funds that are not dependent on or distributed by charity;

  6. Establish secure funding for artists and cultural worker professional development and education plans;

  7. Universalize employer accountability and maintain zero tolerance for discriminatory policies so that workers of all backgrounds feel welcome in this sector;

  8. Expand trans-national work accessibility through the reduction of financially discriminatory labour policies, racist immigration policies, and paid visa requirements for cultural workers;

  9. Invest in and engage with marginalised and poor communities having limited or no access to cultural events and activities

  10. Decolonizing the culture sector and mitigating the undue domination of Western art forms;

  11. Creating legal structures to ensure the enforcement and protection of human rights of workers in the cultural sector; and

  12. Focus on youth: the recruitment and retention of young trade unionists is vital in the fields of arts and culture; their creativity and growth are an investment for generations to come.

Cultural workers help us preserve the past, examine who we are, and imagine who we can become; they deserve to be recognized for their unique and critical contributions to society and to be treated with dignity in the workplace.

Exceptional measures must be taken to repair the damage done by the pandemic in the cultural sector if we are to lift our society and build for a meaningful future.

Signatories:

Organisations:

  1. Public Services International (PSI)

  2. European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)

  3. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

  4. Australia - New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association

  5. Austria - younion _ Die Daseinsgewerkschaft

  6. Belgium - CGSP ALR

  7. Belgium - ENCC

  8. Cameroon - SYNATEEC

  9. Canada - SPGQ (Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec)

  10. Chad - UST

  11. Chile - CONFUSAM

  12. Commonwealth of Dominica - DPSU

  13. Dominican Republic - SITRACORAASAN

  14. Ecuador - National Dance Company

  15. Ecuador - 0bservatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social en el Ecuador OSLADE

  16. Ecuador - Centro de Danza Experimental-Cedex

  17. France - USPAC CGT-Culture

  18. France - CGT territoriaux de Saint-Nazaire

  19. France - CGT Territoriaux Haut et Bas Vallespir

  20. France - UFSE-CGT

  21. France - Compagnie d'Ici

  22. Germany - ver.di

  23. Germany - Verband deutscher Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller (VS in ver.di)

  24. Germany - Kreative im Quartier Lohberg e.V.

  25. Ghana - Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association

  26. Guatemala - Sindicato de trabajadores del Instituto de Fomento Municipal SITRAINFOM

  27. Haiti - Confederation des Travailleurs-euses des Secteurs Public et Privé (CTSP)

  28. Hungary - KKDSZ

  29. India - VMCS

  30. Italy - FPCGIL

  31. Italy - Sindacato CGIL Funzione Pubblica Torino

  32. Jordan - Independent union for the workers in municipalities

  33. Kenya - Union of Kenya Civil Servants

  34. Lebanon - SIDC

  35. Lebanon - Social Workers' Syndicate in Lebanon

  36. Luxembourg - Chambre des salariés du Luxembourg

  37. Mauritius - State and Other Employees Federation

  38. Mauritius - RGEA - Rodrigues

  39. Mexico - Festem

  40. Mongolia - Federation of Public Employees Trade Union

  41. Nepal - Union of Public Services in Nepal (UPSIN)

  42. Nigeria - The Southern Examiner

  43. Pakistan - Workers Education and Research Organization (WERO)

  44. Philippines - Public Services Labor Independent Confederation

  45. Philippines - All U.P. Workers Union

  46. Saint Lucia - St.Lucia Civil Service Association

  47. South Africa - NUPSAW

  48. South Korea - Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union

  49. Spain - CLATE/ULATOC/CSA-A

  50. Togo - FENASSEP TOGO

  51. United Kingdom - PCS Union

  52. United Kingdom - PCS Southbank Centre Branch

  53. United Kingdom - TUC

  54. United Kingdom - Islington Unison

  55. United Kingdom - Artists' Union England

  56. United States - TOTEM Association of Educational Support Personnel, Inc.

Individuals:

  1. Antigua and Barbuda - Hazel Luke - Antigua and Barbuda Workers' Union

  2. Argentina - Viviana Garcia - Fesprosa

  3. Australia - Brett Holmes - New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association

  4. Australia - Janet Roden - New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association

  5. Australia - Colin Long

  6. Austria - Thomas Kattnig - younion _ Die Daseinsgewerkschaft

  7. Austria - Brigitte Rapp - IG Uebersetzerinnen Uebersetzer

  8. Austria - Rea Leka - European Network of Cultural Centres

  9. Bahrain - Abdulla Hussain

  10. Belgium - Sharan Burrow - ITUC

  11. Belgium - Nadja Salson - EPSU

  12. Belgium - Gilbert LIEBEN - CGSP ALR

  13. Belgium - Pierre Vachaudez - ENCC

  14. Belgium - Clémence Garnier - ENCC

  15. Belgium - Emmanuel Wietzel - FGTB

  16. Belgium - Barbara Sak - Researcher in public, social and cooperative economics

  17. Brazil - Jocelio Drummond - PSI Inter-America

  18. Brazil - Euan Gibb - PSI Inter-America

  19. Brazil - Geici Maiara Brig

  20. Brazil - Yara Frateschi Vieira - Universidade Estadual de Campinas

  21. Bulgaria - Gabriela Stoicheva - Trade Union of Administrative Employees

  22. Côte d'Ivoire - Ouattara Épouse Nguessan Tiekhou Antoinette - Syndicat National des sages-femmes ivoiriennes (SYNSFI)

  23. Cameroon - Chief EWOUKEM ATABONG Francois - SYNATEEC

  24. Canada - Emilie Beauchesne - SPGQ (Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec)

  25. Canada - Lydia Martel - SPGQ (Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec)

  26. Canada - Adi Jakupovic - SPGQ (Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec)

  27. Canada - James Cavalluzzo - BCGEU

  28. Canada - Jane Stinson - CUPE retiree

  29. Canada - Adi Jakupovic

  30. Chad - Demba Karyom - UST

  31. Chile - Carolina Espinoza - ISP-CONFUSAM

  32. Colombia - Margarita Lopez - Sintracuavalle

  33. Colombia - Manolo Carvajal - Fedetrar

  34. Colombia - José Isaías Montopya García - ASODEFENSA

  35. Commonwealth of Dominica - Steve - DPSU

  36. Costa Rica - Óscar Rodríguez Léon - PSI-Costa Rica

  37. Denmark - Mads Samsing - HK Kommunal

  38. Dominican Republic - Ivan Manuel Ureña - SITRACORAASAN

  39. Ecuador - Sisa Madrid - National Dance Company

  40. Ecuador - Dick Richard Sellán Bajaña - 0bservatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social en el Ecuador OSLADE

  41. Ecuador - Luis Fernando Cruz - Centro de Danza Experimental-Cedex

  42. Ecuador - Sonia Ortega Fernández - Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, sede Ecuador

  43. Finland - Pekka Pylkkänen - Musician

  44. France - Valérie Renault - secrétaire générale USPAC CGT-Culture

  45. France - Jean-Paul Leonarduzzi - secrétaire général adjoint USPAC CGT-Culture

  46. France - Yvan Navarro - CGT Culture

  47. France - Fabien Pouëssel - CGT territoriaux de Saint-Nazaire

  48. France - Aurélie Guerrero - CGT Territoriaux Haut et Bas Vallespir

  49. France - Godard - UFSE-CGT

  50. France - Battesti Emma - Compagnie d'Ici

  51. France - Frédérique Landas - CGT

  52. France - Lelarge - CGT

  53. France - Catherine Marchais - CGT (fédé Services Publics)

  54. France - Mary Alexis - Alcadom

  55. France - Rance Valérie

  56. France - Frederic Solans

  57. France - Serge Baglin

  58. France - Pascale dambrière

  59. France - Cécile Pallarés Brzezinski - CGT

  60. France - Audrey - CGT

  61. France - Pelloquin Jean-Noel - CGT

  62. France - Le Merdy gilles - La CGT Territoriaux de Nantes

  63. France - Aumeer - CGT cd 91

  64. France - Claire Serre-Combe

  65. France - Harnay Véronique - CGT

  66. France - Christophe Cupillard - archéologue à la DRAC de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

  67. France - Gilles Rollier - Archéologue

  68. France - Georgia Leguem - cheffe de projet audiovisuel

  69. France - Rudy Simoné - Web Architect

  70. France - Isabelle Guillemet

  71. France - Agnès Riandière la Roche - Retraitée, CGT

  72. France - Patrice MESTRAL - compositeur

  73. France - Gérard DEL MASCHIO - Agent EDF/RTE

  74. France - BORDA-SILVAND Bernadette - artiste musicienne retraitée

  75. France - Frédéric Espi - France Insoumise

  76. France - Chaussé

  77. France - Kblues - Marseille

  78. France - Nicolas Violin

  79. France - Clara LE GUYADER - in charge of cultural and educative projects

  80. France - Bonomo - Aix en Provence

  81. France - BIANCHI Bernard - Soildaire

  82. France - Shad Reis - Actor

  83. France - Julien Silvand - Musician

  84. France - Ansot - Cherbourg

  85. France - Kristine Maerel - Comédienne SFA CGT

  86. France - Didier Abadie - directeur ERACM

  87. France - Vincent Montel - Photographe

  88. France - Camille Bobeau - Architecte

  89. France - Guillaume blin - technicien du spectacle

  90. France - Marello - artiste chorégraphique

  91. France - Anaïs Wahl - Médiatrice culturelle

  92. France - Brouillet - Régisseure d'oeuvres d'art - Conseil en conservation préventive

  93. France - Christele Lefebvre - Technicienne theatre

  94. France - Vincent Meriglier

  95. France - Nathalie Lassire - médiatrice culturelle cinéma

  96. France - Gilbert Ceccaldi - Conseiller Culturel

  97. France - Cyrille - singer

  98. France - Sokolowski - technicien

  99. France - Metais

  100. France - Aurélien - Bordeaux2021

  101. France - Christophe Gouin

  102. France - Elsa Berthelot - Sound Technician

  103. France - Halimi Pascale - Peintre,sculpteur

  104. France - Christian Benedetti - directeur Theatre-studio / acteur et metteur en scène

  105. Germany - Barbara Kistner - ver.di Mitglied

  106. Germany - Christian Reischl - ver.di

  107. Germany - Lena Falkenhagen - Verband deutscher Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller (VS in ver.di)

  108. Germany - Peter Schrott - ver.di, Bezirk Berlin

  109. Germany - Britta L.QL - Kreative im Quartier Lohberg e.V.

  110. Germany - Jo Ambros - self-employed

  111. Germany - Eileen Jahn

  112. Germany - Lisa Basten - ver.di

  113. Germany - Anja Bossen - ver.di

  114. Germany - Ralf Kaupenjohann - duo kẑrme (musicians)

  115. Germany - Sonja Heller - BBK

  116. Germany - Karen Beckhof - ver.di

  117. Germany - Anita Frei-Krämer - ver.di

  118. Germany - Maja Ueberle - Translator's Union

  119. Germany - Peter Meier - ver.di

  120. Germany - Anne Emmert - ver.di

  121. Germany - Bernd W. Plake - correspondance.de

  122. Germany - Ingo Herzke - VdÜ / ver.di (Literary Translator's Union)

  123. Germany - Ruth Wyneken VS

  124. Germany - Monika Camara - ver.di

  125. Germany - Claudia Seele-Nyima

  126. Germany - Bernd Bauer - ver.di

  127. Germany - Anne Altenburg - ver.di

  128. Germany - Gregor Seferens - ver.di

  129. Germany - Heike Brandt - Verband Deutscher Schriftsteller

  130. Germany - Peter Christ - ver.di

  131. Germany - Adriana Balboa - Musician/ver. di

  132. Germany - Sabine

  133. Germany - Eugen Schütz - Verdi, Sculpturenetwork.org

  134. Germany - Karen Nölle - VdÜ

  135. Germany - Lisa Kroner - Freelandser

  136. Germany - Annette Zaborowski - ver.di / VS

  137. Germany - Angelika Oppenheimer - ver.di

  138. Germany - Lara Drobig - ver.di Hamburg

  139. Germany - Mirjam Bitter

  140. Germany - Christel Kröning

  141. Ghana - Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo - Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association

  142. Greece - MARIA FILIOPOULOU - KP-ADEDY

  143. Greece - ELENI ZENIOU - Open University of Cyprus - Master's Degree Student in Cultural Policy and Development

  144. Guatemala - Daniel Gomez - Sindicato de trabajadores del Instituto de Fomento Municipal SITRAINFOM

  145. Haiti - Jean Bonald Golinsky FATAL - Confederation des Travailleurs-euses des Secteurs Public et Privé (CTSP)

  146. Haiti - Yvette Gauthier Etienne - Ctsp confédération des travailleurs ( euses) des secteurs publics et privés

  147. Hungary - Orsolya Dobrovits - KKDSZ

  148. Hungary - Katalin Papp - KKDSZ

  149. India - SHREEKANT PRASAD - VMCS

  150. India - Swastik Chakraborty

  151. Italy - Nicoletta Grieco - FP CGIL

  152. Italy - Lilith Zulli - FP CGIL

  153. Italy - Maurizio Scazzi - Sindacato CGIL Funzione Pubblica Torino

  154. Italy - Matteo Scagliarini - FP CGIL

  155. Italy - Luca Mancini - Personale

  156. Italy - Salvatore Marra - CGIL

  157. Italy - Marco Bonaccini

  158. Italy - Orietta Olivo

  159. Italy - Sara Pugliese

  160. Italy - Ulrike Augschoell - Funzione Pubblica CGIL

  161. Italy - Simone Cereda - FP CGIL

  162. Italy - Chiara Tarabotti

  163. Italy - Alessandra Ghirotti

  164. Italy - Antonella Porcari

  165. Italy - Luigi Oiva - Ministry of Culture

  166. Italy - Graziano Pagnotta - CGIL

  167. Italy - Pietro Barbera

  168. Italy - Tina Bellavista - CGIL FP

  169. Italy - Gianluca Mezzadri - CGIL

  170. Italy - ARIANNA ACERBI

  171. Italy - Teodora Mancabelli

  172. Italy - Flavia Bucciero - Consorzio Coreografi Danza d'Autore Con.Cor.D.A.

  173. Italy - Massimiliano A. Polichetti - Italian Ministry of Culture

  174. Italy - Elena Riu - FP GCIL

  175. Italy - Angela Forziati

  176. Italy - Felix Senoner - PERFAS - Performing Artists Association South Tyrol

  177. Jamaica - Wayne Jones - JCSA

  178. Japan - WAKUI Takaaki - JICHIRO

  179. Jordan - Basem Azzam - Independent union for the workers in municipalities

  180. Kenya - Winnie Lago - Union Of Kenya Civil Servants

  181. Kenya - Melder Ogutu - Union Of Kenya Civil Servants

  182. Lebanon - Nadia Badran - SIDC & Social worker's syndicate in Lebanon

  183. Luxembourg - Jean-Claude Reding - Chambre des salariés du Luxembourg

  184. Malaysia - Kan Suan Jade - Malayan Nurses Union

  185. Mauritius - SADIEN RADHAKRISNA - State and Other Employees Federation

  186. Mauritius - Meunier Marie-Lourdes - RGEA - Rodrigues

  187. Mexico - Fernando Ignacio Licona Cervantes - Festem

  188. Mongolia - Altantsetseg.Magvan - Federation of Public Employees Trade Union

  189. Namibia - Alex Haimbodi - Public service union of Namibia

  190. Nepal - Parshuram Pudasaini - Union of Public Services in Nepal (UPSIN)

  191. Nepal - Ram prasad Poudel - Local level employee union

  192. Netherlands - Michiel Odijk - AOb (= General Education Union) - Network for Diversity and Inclusion

  193. Netherlands - Wilma Roos - FNV

  194. New Zealand - Caleb Gordon - Experience Wellington

  195. New Zealand - Jo Hall - NZPSA

  196. New Zealand - Hannah - PSA

  197. Nigeria - Akanimo Sampson - The Southern Examiner

  198. Norway - May-Britt Sundal - Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees

  199. Pakistan - Mir Zulfiqar Ali - WERO

  200. Pakistan - Sultan Muhammad Khan - All Pakistan Labour Federation

  201. Peru - Ibis Fernandez - CGTP

  202. Philippines - Annie Enriquez Geron - Public Services Labor Independent Confederation

  203. Philippines - Jossel Ebesate - All U.P. Workers Union

  204. Philippines - Victor G. Chiong - PSI

  205. Portugal - Jorge Faewl - STAL

  206. Saint Lucia - Claude A Paul - St.Lucia Civil Service Association

  207. Senegal - Elimane DIOUF - Syndicat Autonome des Travailleurs des Eaux du Sénégal

  208. Singapore - Ricky Cheng - AUPE

  209. South Africa - Andrew Tarusenga - NUPSAW

  210. South Korea - SungHee Oh - Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU)

  211. Spain - Eduardo Estevez Martin - CLATE/ULATOC/CSA-A

  212. Spain - Jacek CIACMA - CCOO

  213. Sweden - lana Willebrand - Union to Union

  214. Switzerland - Aliyah Esmail

  215. Switzerland - David Andenmatten - Avenir syndical

  216. Togo - TELOU Pirenam - FENASSEP TOGO

  217. Tunisia - CHERNI - FGEG/ UGTT

  218. Turkey - özgür

  219. Uganda - Mawa Majid - NOTU

  220. United Kingdom - Zita Holbourne - PCS Union

  221. United Kingdom - James Graham Corscadden - TUC

  222. United Kingdom - Gareth Spencer - PCS Southbank Centre Branch

  223. United Kingdom - Alan Wylie - Islington Unison

  224. United Kingdom - James Bartholomeusz - International Transport Workers' Federation

  225. United Kingdom - Jonathan Ledger - Unite the Union

  226. United Kingdom - Robin Wilson - National Union of Journalists (branch chair)

  227. United Kingdom - John Lynch - PCS

  228. United Kingdom - Charlotte Hopkins

  229. United Kingdom - Jo Grant

  230. United Kingdom - Luiz Vieira - Unite

  231. United Kingdom - Jill Eastland - Artists' Union England

  232. United Kingdom - Theresa Easton - Artists' Union England

  233. United Kingdom - Rachel Moss - Freelancer - particip8tion

  234. United Kingdom - Angela Kennedy - Artists' Union England

  235. United Kingdom - Virginia Bodman

  236. United Kingdom - Diana Barnes - Unison

  237. United Kingdom - MISS LARA A S RATNARAJA

  238. United Kingdom - Clara Paillard - PCS Culture Group

  239. United States - Sandra Thompson - TOTEM Association of Educational Support Personnel, Inc.

  240. United States - Steve Porter - PSI

  241. United States - Jan Hochadel - AFT/AFT-CT

  242. United States - John C Bhend - AFSCME Local 52

  243. United States - Eric Duncan - American Federation of Teachers

  244. United States - Michael Miller

  245. United States - Dennis' LaborSOLIDARITY

  246. United States - Phillip Golub