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Bundestheater and Vordernberg: Stop G4S!

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(14.1.2014) (back to the german text)

In October 2013, at the Jubilee Congress of the Austrian National Theatre Burgtheater, an usher confronted the public with the fact that since 1996 the Austrian Federal Theatres have outsourced their audience-service personnel to the private security company G4S. He thus initiated an ongoing discussion on outsourcing and the responsibilities of the theatre as a cultural institution, of the entire cultural industry, and of the globalized society as such.

We, the undersigned of this petition, find it inacceptable that labour, social and human rights are being compromised!

1) We urge the Bundestheater-Holding to hire its employees directly, to safeguard the audience-service personnel’s jobs in the course of restructuring, and particularly to stop terminating employees on the grounds of factual criticism of their working conditions.

2) We urge the Austrian Federal Government to oblige subsidy recipients by providing strict guidelines to conclude fair employment contracts within the law and with adequate payment. No resources assigned for the promotion of arts and culture shall go to companies such as G4S!

3) We urge the Federal Government, the federal provinces, and the municipalities to not enter into contracts with companies known to violate labour, social or human rights. The contract with G4S on the prison for detention pending deportation in Vordernberg, which was concluded under dubious terms of tender, must be immediately terminated!

Explanatory statement:

G4S is one of the largest “security companies” worldwide and is internationally often associated with violations of human and labour rights as well as with charges of corruption. In Austria, the company currently profits from a 68-million-euro-contract with a minimal duration of 15 years for controversial services in Vordernberg, the Styrian special institution for detention pending deportation, which commenced operation on January 15, 2014. With this contract, the execution of custody pending deportation, which according to the Federal Constitution is a sovereign function, is being at least partially outsourced to a private company – for the first time in Austria.

Custody pending deportation and deportation are thus business areas, which earn G4S money as much as the provision of employees for theatres. Budgetary constraints are often put forward to justify such outsourcing. If there is any cost saving potential at all, it is at the expense of the employees. They are confronted with a reduction of salaries and other disadvantages in their employment contracts,. Moreover, there is a lack of monitoring and legal security affecting in particular public safety.

At this point, the question of social responsibility arises. Labour, social and human rights are not to be abandoned in favour of alleged economic profitability! Or, as the usher put it in his protest speech: “I dream of a theatre that stands up against politics supporting outsourcing, privatisation, and the subsequent injustice in our society. I dream of a theatre that turns against the deportation of human beings, who in other parts of the world produce the products of our prosperity while being underpaid and living in misery.”

signing the petition