The professional status of performers under threat in France

Working Conditions Status of the Artist FIA Campaigns and Solidarity News

Outrage among professional performers is growing over the adoption on second reading of the “Creation” bill presented by the French government, which makes provision for all companies in the entertainment business, whether subsidised or not, to resort to using unpaid artists.

Under the guise of promoting amateur practices, the French government in fact covertly undermines through this law the professionality of performers, by suggesting that the work of an actor, a dancer or a singer should not necessarily be paid.

This is a historic regression, in a country reputed to treat its artists worthily. It is also a serious step backwards with regard to article III.3 of the Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist, adopted unanimously in 1980 by the UNESCO member States (including France) and which stipulates that “Member States […] take all necessary steps to stimulate artistic creativity and the flowering of talent, in particular by adopting measures to secure greater freedom for artists, without which they cannot fulfil their mission, and to improve their status by acknowledging their right to enjoy the fruits of their work.” To make remuneration for artists an option is, no more and no less, a denial of such right.

FIA condemns this troubling new trend of the French government and parliament and urges them to reconsider their position in the on-going legislative process. The desirable, and legitimate, fostering of amateur practices cannot call into question the professional status of performers and the rights that flow from it.

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