Museum employees to PM Ciolacu: “We are waiting for you in any of the public museums, for 4 hours a day”

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Amid upcoming protest across the museum institutions in Romania, museum employees are calling on Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu to apologize publicly after his statements on Wednesday, when he said, regarding their Museum Night 2024 protests, that he would not respond to “blackmail”. The employees accuse prime minister Ciolacu of inciting the violation of the Labor Code.

“You know, I am also dissatisfied with many things, but it never occurred to me to boycott some children from visiting museums. From my point of view, and through you, I will appeal to them to do the service for which they are hired. And through concrete dialogue, I have already started discussions with the Minister, with the Minister of Finance, but I will not respond to such blackmail”, PM Ciolacu stated a day ago.
Museum employees retorted that these statements by the prime minister “deeply offend and disregard an entire professional category – that of employees in the public system for the protection of the national cultural heritage, respectively in public museums accredited, according to the law, in Romania”.
“In these statements, a sad first in the post-December history of Romania, a high-ranking official of the Romanian state instigates the violation of the legal provisions in force regarding the Labor Code, the protection of movable cultural heritage and the law of volunteerism and strongly misinforms the public opinion, accusing a professional body of blackmail elite and dereliction of duty”, says a press release by the National Federation of Trade Unions in Culture and Mass Media “CulturMedia”.
“Your statements, given that the event takes place after hours, on Saturdays and during the museum staff’s free time, regarding the mandatory presence of staff, denote an instigation to forced labor and serious violations of the Labor Code, given the conditions who you are, or should be, the guarantor of compliance with the laws of the Romanian state. And if they are just the result of faulty information, please check with credible sources and take action if someone has misinformed you! As for the veiled threats, again unique in the post-December history to an entire professional category, they may denote an ignorance of the specific legislation in Romania”, according to museum employees.
The trade unionists challenge Marcel Ciolacu to do four hours of volunteering in any public museum in Romania. Mr. Prime Minister, neither you nor your fellow ministers can replace the accredited staff of public museums in Romania, not even as volunteers, under these conditions! You would be violating a number of laws, including the Volunteering Act, which clearly states that the activity of volunteers cannot replace or duplicate the duties of the staff in the institutions where the volunteering activity is carried out. However, we provide you with a volunteer contract and we are waiting for you in any of the public museums, for 4 hours a day, maybe this way you will understand what the work of cultural heritage management entails and you will no longer go out in the public space with statements like “ boycott some children to visit museums” or “employees to do their jobs for which they are paid”!
The museum staff told Ciolacu that he will then have the opportunity “to see a dramatically underfunded, chronically understaffed field, where its employees, whom you blame from the government Olympus, paid the minimum in the economy, perform tasks that can easily fill three – or even four cards separated by post”.
We invite you voluntarily, together with your ministers, in warehouses, exhibition halls, on archaeological sites, in the area of educational workshops for children and adults, to our open lessons, with which we support or even supplement the education system, in restoration laboratories and preservation, in the “kitchen” where the great international exhibitions are polished and then festively cut ribbons”, they also said.
“We also ask you not to mix the children and the workers of the Romanian culture in populist statements, for electoral purposes! We mention that on May 18, 2024, all museums in Romania will operate, as every weekend of the year, in accordance with the normal work schedule established by the Internal Regulation!! So, for this anniversary edition of the Night of the Museums, the employees of 80% of the public museums in Romania have decided to offer you the cultural opportunity to visit only the entities for which the Government, in its wisdom, considered that the work deserves recognition”, according to the statement.

Museum Night this year will marked on May 18 will see more museums closed in several cities across the country. Some of the institutions have announced that they will not take part in the event in protest. The employees have several complaints, including the wages that are too low.

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