The Scottish Trades Union Congress today (STUC) today warned that without greater union involvement in funding packages and future planning, the creative sector faces deep and lasting damage, with low-income and excluded groups at most risk.
Their warning came as the Scottish Government announced £10 million of support for performing arts venues. Unions welcomed the funding but cautioned it needed to go to those who need it most.
With many workers having already fallen through the cracks of the UK Government’s support scheme, and large-scale redundancies being proposed across Scotland’s theatres, the industry itself is facing steep challenges ahead if it is to remain viable. Roz Foyer, General Secretary of the STUC, stated: “Pre Coronavirus, the creative industries contributed over £4.9billion to the Scottish economy, growing at a rate of almost four times the UK average. We cannot afford to see a total annihilation of such a viable and important industry. “But our creative industries are about more than money. A strong cultural sector is vital for human wellbeing. Creativity and culture is the very essence of what it is to be human – to be able to reflect and reimagine our society. Now more than ever, we need a strong cultural sector.
“Ensuring a degree of security and income protection for workers must be a priority if we are to avoid losing large parts of the workforce. The £10 million funding announced by the Scottish Government must come with a commitment from Creative Scotland that creative unions are consulted on the criteria for distributing this money. If they are not, there is a risk that this money will filter its way to the top of the industry, with workers on the lowest incomes paying the steepest price. “Precarious work, short-term and zero-hour contracts has blighted parts of the industry for too long. The post-Covid period could be an opportunity to right this wrong. But workers will only have faith in the future if unions are involved in coordinated planning to fairly distribute income across the sector.”
Rachel Thomson Campaigns & Communications Officer Scottish Trades Union Congress 07974966227