For several weeks now, cultural workers have been in action and occupying more than 100 venues. These occupations have allowed the place of culture in our society to be debated widely, leaving the question of the reopening of theatres and museums.
What mobilizes the occupants in the first place is the question of their wages and their living and working conditions. Preserving these means extending the “white year” of the intermittent regime (i.e. their rights to receive compensation despite the impossibility of working) and investing heavily in culture.
Let us remember that it had already undergone several austerity measures in recent years, with disengagements from most local authorities. More generally, the intermittents understood that a simple extension of the white year would be only a short-term solution and engaged in the tug-of-war against the reform of unemployment insurance.
Unemployment insurance reform affects us all
The reform of unemployment insurance adopted last December foresees a considerable reduction in the rights of the unemployed.
The conditions of access to unemployment benefits will change: it will be necessary to have worked 6 months over the last 24 months instead of 4 months over the last 28 months today, the amount of benefits will fall: they will be calculated no longer from the salary of the days worked, but on the average of the days worked and unemployed.
Thus, as of1 July 2021, the benefits of one million privé.es of employment will fall by 25% on average. For example, a person who has worked at the Smic for 6 months will receive 659 euros per month instead of 975 euros today.
The government is clearly preparing the consequences of the current wave of layoffs and the upcoming austerity programme after the health crisis.
All the reasons to converge
This reform does not affect the intermittent ones at the moment. But the scheme of these depends on unemployment insurance. It is clear that they will in turn be affected in the long run. But if they are fighting today, it is also for all the unemployed, theirs and the insecure who will be impacted from July.
So it’s in our best interest to join the struggle of the workers, the culture. The occupied places must become places of convergence, and organize the mobilization of workers, its precarious and privé.es of employment. Let’s multiply the occupations of the Job Centre, information in working-class neighborhoods and with all salaries.
No re-opening of the halls without abandoning the reform of unemployment insurance Thus, the reopening of the halls, highlighted in the media by the bosses of culture, a part of the intellectuals of the left or the most well-known artists, is only a secondary aspect of the current struggle. Under the current conditions, the reopening will lead to competition from the workers of the culture for access to work. Most will be left on the sidelines and will be without pay at the end of the “White Year” in September.
It is therefore in the best interest to maintain these occupations as long as the current counter-reforms are maintained. On the contrary, occupations must be used to put the retrograde nature of the reform of unemployment insurance largely in the public square, and to broaden the movement to all salarié.es concerned by unemployment and precariousness.
Libertarian Communist Union on April 9, 2021