More than 200 people are protesting at the Ministry of Culture in Latvia

Today, more than 200 representatives of technical support companies in the Latvian event industry have arrived at the Ministry of Culture to protest against the lack of support for employees in the industry.

Normunds Eilands, the head of the Latvian Association of Technical Support Companies, told LETA that today the goal is to draw the attention of not only the government, but also the public, that events are created not only by artists, but also by technical staff. “Because hardware companies work in the shadows, this is the time when we can make a difference because we don’t know if we will survive,” Eiland said.

The picket also aims to confirm that the field of technical support belongs to the cultural sector.

Eiland noted that in an emergency, the industry’s turnover had fallen by almost 100%. After the emergency, there are small improvements – the turnover due to the Covid-19 restriction has decreased by about 65-80% compared to the previous year.

Eiland pointed out that downtime benefits for employees in emergency situations were used by many companies. However, in periods when downtime benefits are no longer available, companies have lost between 20% and 80% of their employees.

The Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis (VL-TB / LNNK) invited the representatives of the sector to sit at the negotiating table in order to solve the problems of the sector in a joint dialogue with the Ministry of Culture (MoC). Eiland noted that he hoped for this conversation in the next two weeks. “We are ready to talk, but how much are they ready to talk to us,” he added, adding that so far the situation in the industry has been discussed, but solutions have not yet been discussed.

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The head of the association pointed out that technical support entrepreneurs have analyzed the existing support mechanisms for the cultural sector, but none of them reaches the technical support area.

The Minister of Culture invited the entrepreneurs of the technical support of the event industry to sit at the negotiating table on Wednesday, August 12, at 4 p.m.

The agency LETA observed that in the picket each participant had arrived with a sound box and their own poster, which, for example, reads “I can replace the light bulb, but will you be able to light the events?”, “Will the actors have to repair the equipment themselves?”, “You have you already visited your last festival? “, as well as” Staro Rīga will continue to shine in our memories “and other posters.

At the picket, the technical support industry has dressed in red and black shirts with poster slogans. The picket takes place without incident and peacefully.

Later, as the picket continued from 3 p.m., protesters with 100 sound boxes marched toward the Cabinet of Ministers along Elizabetes Street. During the march, the participants of the event technical support industry attracted the attention of several people, including foreign tourists.

As the government building approached, the hardware industry began to beat the sound boxes. In turn, in the alley opposite the Cabinet of Ministers, the protesters fell silent, put the boxes next to each other and waited for the politicians to arrive in person.

The action at the Cabinet of Ministers took place simultaneously with the government meeting. After an hour and a half of picketing, the director of the State Chancellery Jānis Muudkovskis came to the participants of the campaign. The two sides agreed in the conversation that the representatives of the technical support need real solutions, which have certain deadlines, so that the entrepreneurs can plan the work. The director of the State Chancellery said that the government had heard the problem and that Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (JV) would expect proposals from the Minister of Culture.

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LETA has already reported that the technical support companies in the event industry are picking on Tuesday to draw attention to the critical situation in the industry.

The head of the Latvian Association of Technical Support Companies in the Event Sector previously said that professionals in the field have joined forces to jointly express their concerns about the future of the industry and call on the responsible authorities to make decisions to save companies and jobs.

The Latvian Association of Event Technical Support Companies indicated that it would soon be five months since the declaration of an emergency situation in the country on March 12, which was related to the restriction of the spread of Covid-19. Gathering restrictions came into force in the country, which completely stopped all events and cultural events.

Although the state of emergency in the country has ended and many industries are returning to normal working life, the situation in the event industry is still described as “extraordinary” – various restrictions on gathering still prevent the sector from working properly, providing businesses and livelihoods. families, noted in the association.

The Minister of Culture has previously emphasized that hardly ever has the Ministry of Culture paid such great attention and worked closely with representatives of non-academic music. It is in this sector that technical support companies operate as a percentage. Puntulis emphasized that the ministry has never had such close cooperation with the private sector before.

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