French culture minister Renaud Donnedieude Vabres may have won a temporary stay against potential threats to the CannesFilm Festival when he proposed a series of measures intended to calm strikingshow business workers on Wednesday.
For the past year, temporaryworkers have been protesting changes to their benefits system which took effecton January 1, 2004. The new system dictates that rather than work 507 hoursover 12 months to qualify for 12 months of benefits, artists and techniciansmust now complete the 507 hours over a reduced period of 10 months fortechnicians and 10.5 months for artists.
Demonstrators have doneeverything from shutting down the Avignon Theatre Festival last summer todowning the lights on the recent Moliere Awards' ceremony, France's equivalentto the Tony's.
Donnedieu de Vabres, however,met with ministers on Wednesday to propose certain changes - or at leastmeasures which could help to calm tensions as Cannes gears up.
Local fears are that Cannesis the perfect venue in which to air grievances, despite the event organisers'insistence that measures are in place to avoid any disruptions.
Among the proposals put forthby the culture minister are the creation of a fund of Euros 20 million whichwould go to help workers seriously affected by the changes, the re-opening ofrights to workers on a 12 month basis and the re-examination of the system as awhole to determine just who qualifies for the benefits.
ARP, the association ofwriters, directors and producers congratulated the culture minister on hisproposals on Wednesday.