An open letter to the Swiss authorities
Us at Eingang, we stand together with cultural workers from Switzerland and worldwide. ✊🇨🇭
In our motherland they have joined forces, in order to write an open letter addressed to the authorities ; tap this link if you speak french or see below our attempt at translation, which could be useful to other organisations.
‘Culture functions as an ecosystem, in which workers with multiple skills pool their different skills for the benefit of artistic creation. And as in any ecosystem, even a slight local variation in the production cycle can cause significant damage.
Thus, the consequences of repeated shutdowns in the cultural industry are dramatic: from the closure of cultural venues and the cancellation of festivals to the cancellation of shows, concerts or exhibitions, which leads cultural workers to economic bankruptcy. The entire ecosystem is thus impacted, as if it was frozen.
Unfortunately, these consequences will be felt for a long time, as the seasons are clogged up by postponements, which are all the more numerous the longer the closure of the premises lasts. In an attempt to respond to this situation, associations have rang the alarm bell over the difficulties encountered by cultural workers since the beginning of the health crisis. It should be remembered that this crisis also highlights the precariousness of cultural environments, a situation that has long been denounced by professional organisations. This is why they alerted the public authorities from the very first wave of contamination to the threat of a veritable cultural desert looming if nothing is done to ease the consequences of the restrictions imposed by the public authorities.
Today, we, professional organisations in the cultural field, have decided to remind, collectively, of the proposals which, according to our expertise in the field, are necessary in order to limit as much as possible the damage caused by the measures implemented in response to the pandemic (or possibly) to put in place, on a permanent basis, adequate working conditions for all cultural workers. They must be adopted as soon as possible by the authorities, it is a question of survival for our sector:
- Progressively reopen cultural venues to the public, in line with the reopening of other economic sectors and in compliance with protective measures, in order to guarantee concrete access to culture for all.
- Recognise legally and administratively the specific status of cultural workers at a national level.
- Massively expand financial support for artistic research and continuous education, so that cultural workers can continue to work, to develop their savoir-faire and to share their skills, even outside the field of cultural activities.
- To support and encourage actions at a district level to relieve congestion in cultural venues.
- Simplify and quicken the administrative procedures required to qualify for financial compensation.
- Review the calculation of the APG compensation to ensure a decent income for self-employed individuals.
- Extend the unemployment framework timeframe with the necessary compensatory benefits for intermittent workers who have been considerably weakened since March 2020.
Culture is not only an economic sector in its own right, but also an industry fundamental to our individual and collective development and a tool to reflect on our communities and envision our potential futures. It must therefore be recognised as essential by the public authorities.
We urge the public authorities to recognise the consequences of their actions. If we are prevented from working, we must be compensated. Otherwise, a sector that represents nearly 300,000 jobs and more than 3% of GDP will be permanently damaged, with the economic and social consequences that this implies.
As umbrella organisations, we support the actions already carried out since last March, such as cultureismyjob.ch and the manifesto of the Swiss cultural actors.’
Published on 15 February, 2021