Dear Mr.President of the Republic, President of the Assembly of the Republic, Prime Minister and Minister of Culture,
On 19th and 26th of April 2020, the following representative structures of the sector were gathered: Fundação GDA; Plateia – Associação de Profissionais das Artes Cénicas; CENA-STE – Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Espectáculos, do Audiovisual e dos Músicos; Performart – Associação Para As Artes Performativas em Portugal; Acesso Cultura; Rede – Associação de Estruturas para a Dança Contemporânea; and the formal and informal groups – Precários Inflexíveis; Artesjuntxs; Artistas 100%; Comissão Profissionais das Artes; Intermitentes Porto e Covid; Independentes mas Pouco; M.U.S.A. – Movimento de União Solidária de Artistas; e Ação Cooperativista – Artistas, Técnicos e Produtores.
From this meeting there is a clear consensus that both formal and informal institutions and groups, which represent workers from the Culture and Arts sector, are united and committed to identifying necessary and urgent measures for implementation during this period of emergency caused by Covid-19. At the same time, we strongly believe that it is crucial to act with civic responsibility and with a clear strategy for the future. Culture and Arts are key agents in the development of Portuguese society and therefore, it is vital to promote communication between the various institutions. To achieve this, a coordinated dialogue is required between the Ministry of Culture and the ministries of Work, Solidarity and Social Security; the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Education; and the Ministry of the Economy (also the State Secretary of Tourism).
The scope of work within the Culture and Arts sector is wider than is normally understood. Workers are employed across a multiplicity of roles which have not yet been mapped sufficiently. Recognising this transversality and diversity, we offer our collaboration towards increased justice and equity, recognising the social needs of thousands of workers across the country. Contrary to what has been declared publicly, the transverse emergency measures – meaning social security measures for independent workers and measures of urgent support from the Ministry of Culture – leave behind a substantial number of workers from this sector. The known cases of people in desperate situations reveals the magnitude of this calamity. What is also tragic is the chronic underfunding from the Ministry of Culture and its lack of ability to liaise with the sector in an informed, transparent and serious manner.
We demand the creation of strategies for the short, medium and long term for the Culture and Arts sector that meets its urgent needs.
1. The urgent implementation of measures to guarantee an effective social protection, leading to the legislative consecration of social benefits specifically for Culture and Arts workers.
2. The availability of an emergency fund with values that have been fairly considered and are suitable to the dimension and impact of the emergency in the sector.
This is also the moment to create the basis for:
1. The passing into future legislation of the specific measures generated by the emergency situation, including the hiring of staff.
2. The mapping of the scope of the Culture and Arts sector and the creation of appropriate cultural policies.
We believe that the union of these different groups and individuals, and the creation of strategies together, demonstrates the willingness to create sustainable dialogue and solidarity within the sector. The current emergency needs answers and actions now, as well as a vision for the future.