Performing arts unemployment benefit system temporarily safeguarded prior to a fundamental review

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Following several months of strong protests, the unemployment benefit scheme specific to workers in the performing arts in France has been renewed up to 31 December 1998.

The specific unemployment benefit scheme for the performing arts introduced in the 1960s has been the target of offensives by the CNPF (Conseil National du Patronat Français) employers' confederation on a regular basis since 1992. Following several revisions of the system and then the breakdown of talks as part of the renewal of the general UNEDIC (Union nationale pour l'emploi dans l'industrie et le commerce) unemployment insurance agreement for the year 1996, the Government used arbitration to obtain the extension of the performing arts scheme until the end of April 1997 (FR9703130N).

The decision to retain unchanged until the end of 1998 appendixes 8 and 10 of the general system of unemployment contributions, which govern the conditions for the claiming of unemployment benefit by workers in the performing arts, was made public by the Minister of Culture following a meeting with the president of the CNPF. Nevertheless, this decision was taken without consulting the unions, and this is one of the areas traditionally dealt with through French-style negotiations by joint union-employer committees. Employers, unions and the Government thus have a year and a half to come up with a plan for the reorganisation of the current system. A joint union-employer committee will shortly be set up to study the distinctive conditions relating to this sector of employment. They are to work on four precise objectives:

  1. to clarify under what circumstances performing arts employers will actually be able to take on workers on fixed-term contracts;
  2. to generalise the possibility for organisers of one-off shows to pay all social security and UNEDIC contributions in a single payment at a single collection point;
  3. to modify legislation regarding the management of performing arts companies; and
  4. to contribute the struggle against illegal employment.
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