Strengthen the rights of DKS performers


Petition to stop the poor development of Kulturtanken and Den Kulturelle Skolesekken

The performers demand that Kulturtanken (Arts for young audiences Norway) takes responsibility for the poor development in Den Kulturelle Skolesekken (DKS)


Since 2015, Rikskonsertene was gradually dissolved by the government under the promise of a new government agency with an extended mandate intended to strengthen DKS. This evolved into what we today know as Kulturtanken.


Link to the governments own press release about the strengthening of DKS

The process of restructuring Rikskonsertene has been characterised by a lack of direction with regard to retaining the unique value of DKS and the Norwegian school concert programme. We have witnessed a process where each and every guideline regarding restructuring has been altered in a negative direction, away from the original intention of strengthening DKS.

The problem is that the employers' responsibilities have been transferred to municipalities and county councils, which has transformed Kulturtanken into a “technocratic knowledge base” instead of being able to perform important national tasks for the school concert programme.

We have witnessed a destruction of the legal framework that ensures standard social rights for performers as commuting cultural employers for municipalities and counties.

Today, municipalities and county councils have completely taken over the role as employers, and they each interpret the ruins that are left of the legal framework entirely differently. Some employers have chosen to remove basic worker rights completely, others are waiting for a new framework that has been delayed or postponed while Kulturtanken has been busy doing other things. This destruction of a supporting wall in the school concert programme must end. Rights must be reinstated immediately. Kulturtanken, and the parts involved in the restructuring, bear the responsibility for the fact that performers in the autumn of 2017 are being sent out on tour without worker rights and payment that is up to industry standards. The restructuring has happened behind closed doors, and nobody is taking responsibility for the obvious problems that now exist. This is bureaucracy in practice.

Understanding and facilitating performers' needs is crucial in order to boost quality. Today, autumn 2017, performers are going on tour for a DKS that has a poorly thought-out infrastructure that does not facilitate a good working life.

Kulturtanken is announcing a dozen new advisory positions, whilst the performers are left without a leadership that can take responsibility - or at least delegate responsibility - for important tasks. This is bureaucracy in practice.

The former agreement that MFO (Norwegian Musicians' Union) had with Rikskonsertene was negotiated with great knowledge and experience. This agreement has been dismantled and/or transferred to a more general agreement that is also several years' old. Necessary negotiations with performer and rights organisations have not been made in time for the changes. This is the result of the bureaucratisation.

The leaders in Kulturtanken are not claiming responsibility for the shortcomings that we now see in the wake of their reorganising. They are instead trying to absolve themselves of any responsibility for this situation by blaming it on their lack of a mandate to negotiate.

It's easy to blame this situation on something they didn't see coming, but there have been warnings about these issues from rights organisations for a long time. The fact is that the Norwegian Cultural Department seems to have created a bureaucratic organisation which lacks the possibilities to do a job that is crucial in order to create suitable conditions for the performers. This was not the original intention. This is simply not good enough, with regards to the government's original intention of strengthening the school concert programme with an “extended mandate”.

Most importantly, it is the children, the recipients of this public arrangement, who lose most due to these changes.

The performers have now started a petition in order to highlight that immediate measures are necessary in order to strengthen the school concert programme. The programme hasn't been strengthened as a result of the changes made, it has been weakened. There are a lot of issues at hand, and time is of the essence.


Sarah-Jane Summers & Hans Martin Austestad    Contact the author of the petition

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