"For ten months we have been suffering brutally from the consequences of precarious work, lack of rights and social protection, aggravated by the devastating consequences of the pandemic, which lead us, without alternative, to economic deprivation, to situations of indebtedness and informality" , Teresa Coutinho, from Ação Cooperativista, said today in the call for the protest, today at an online press conference.
The protest "Na Rua Pelo Futuro da Cultura" aims to be national in scope and is promoted by various structures, including the Cooperative Action, the Union of Workers of Spectacles, Audiovisual and Musicians ( CENA-STE), Plateia - Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the Portuguese Association of Directors (APR), the Archeology Workers Union (STARQ) and Rede - Association of Structures for Contemporary Dance. "It is very important that the Portuguese Government perceives the strength of Culture, because they did not fully understand it. We continue to experience many difficulties in understanding the size of these workers and all the areas they involve", lamented today Rui Galveias, director of CENA- STE, at the press conference.
According to Amarílis Felizes, from Plateia, this national protest is "in response to the non-response" that the structures received from the tutelage of Culture, in the last meeting, in December. "We think being on the street is important to get attention and we want concrete answers," he said. In the call today revealed, the sector's representative structures are said to be outraged by the fact that, "as of January 2021, support for those who work with green receipts is even smaller and has more conditioned access (with the condition of resources) than those that existed in 2020 ".
Among the demands presented by cultural structures is an "effective social protection" for Culture workers, "due to the total or partial loss of their income due to the pandemic" and that this social protection "is above the poverty line, which does not nobody from the outside and that continues until the lifting of all the norms of conditioning of the professional activity ". They also want "municipalities and cultural institutions to pay for events, shows, works and activities that are canceled or postponed" and for there to be "a legal and supervisory framework to guarantee these payments".
At the press conference, actress Sara Barros Leitão warned that "whenever there is a case of covid-19 in a team and the show is canceled, most of these shows are unpaid and are simply canceled and this is highly dramatic. to do with the non-hiring of new activities by the municipalities ", who" resign "from making the payments due.
To support the idea that there was a "false recovery" of cultural activity in the context of a pandemic, Rui Galveias lists cases of workers in "a truly dramatic situation, of financial exhaustion, of inability to pay their rent, to pay for gas, to keep the house warm ". "We are talking about a very serious human dimension. The false resumption created the idea that we are working. Many of these people are working in a completely different dimension.] ...] The resumption is not doing shows in extreme conditions. resumption is to resume work in a normal way ", he said.
As for the status of the Culture professional, the union leader said that "it is far from being concluded and is also reflected in this manifestation". The shutdown of Culture began in the second week of March 2020, quickly spread to all areas and, at the end of the year, between "deflation plan" and states of emergency, the sector added losses above 70 percent in relation to 2019 .
The number was advanced by agents of the sector, in the scenario imposed by the pandemic of the covid-19, and is common to different areas, from publishers and booksellers to the performing arts, from the cinema ticket offices and museums, to the promoters of festivals, allowing to predict a drop in the order of 4.8 billion euros, in terms of turnover, taking as a reference the figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE), for Culture, in 2019.
In 2019, according to INE, the sector mobilized around 132,200 workers and reached a turnover of 6.9 billion euros, which represented 3.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), situated in the 209 billion euros euros in 2019. The covid-19 pandemic ended up exposing the weaknesses already existing in the Portuguese cultural sector.
The first government support for the sector was announced as early as March, with an emergency line, which had 1.7 million euros, for 314 projects. In June, three lines of support were announced, under the Economic and Social Stabilisation Program (PEES), which only opened in August: Support for artistic structures (three million euros), that were made to be a social support for workers.