Heard by the Senate this March 10, 2021, Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot assured that this Thursday March 11, she will deliver “substantial announcements for the cultural sector we must protect”.
This declaration sounded intriguing and sparked a little bit of hope for culture professionals: would a reopening date for cultural places ultimately be given? Her speech started with a reminder: “the pandemic keeps on badly hitting our country and Europe”.
It seemed more than likely these announcements were to focus on financial helps, and specifically on occasional show business workers’ wages. They were at the heart of the minister’s speech during the senatorial hearing: “In no way shall we review occasional workers’ rights, we shall keep on protecting them […] and we are working on improving the system, specifically including first-time arriving because we must protect our young in culture”.
Bachelot might also addressed test-concerts scheduled in France or clubs and nightclubs likely to move on under cultural places’ regime.
Furthermore, the minister strongly condemned the occupation of the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris she visited a few days ago. “Occupying cultural places is not the right way, it is useless […]. These actions are dangerous, and jeopardize fragile heritage places”, she stated.
20 million euros unlocked
This Thursday March 11, as promised, Roselyne Bachelot spoke on BFMTV. No reopening date, but a major increase in the monetary fund for culture.
The minister announced that an extra 20 million euros have been unlocked in the government’s budget to support the cultural sector, taking the envelop to “50 million euros of aid for artistic employment. […] We already gathered 30 million [as part of the recovery scheme], and an extra 20 million euros will support fragile art teams, art creations and recent graduates”, she said, after she talked about it in a meeting gathering Prime Minister Jean Castex and union bodies representing culture.
Bachelot did not stop here: “another major announcement that was highly anticipated: some technicians that had not had enough hours did not get access to their maternity rights and their sick rights. We are committed with changing the rules so that they can enjoy maternity and sick leaves”, the Minister of Culture promised.
As expected, occasional workers have not been left out by the government. “We have also fed the emergency trust with an extra 10 million euros”, the minister said. This funds enables to help those who cannot qualify to enter the occasional work system. With this new input, it reaches 17 million euros.
Bachelot repeated over and over again, “the State is with the artists more than ever”. As for the reopening of cultural places, she says she is working on it but gave no further details as the situation is “still too uncertain”.