Centre Pompidou and Staff Reach Agreement, Ending Three-Month Strike - The World News

Centre Pompidou and Staff Reach Agreement, Ending Three-Month Strike

The Centre Pompidou, a complex of cultural institutions that includes France’s National Museum of Modern Art, has reached an agreement with two unions that represent its staff, ending a historic three-month strike.

As first reported in Le Monde, Centre Pompidou management signed an agreement today with the two union bodies, the FDT and Force Ouvrière.

In a statement shared on X, Rachida Dati, the French Minister of Culture who assumed her post earlier this month, said, “As soon as I arrived at the Ministry of Culture, I wanted to put an end to this bogged-down situation. One hundred days of strike is unprecedented in the history of the Center Pompidou.”

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"On strike" signs are seen at the entrance doors of the Centre Pompidou (National Modern Art Museum) in Paris, on November 16, 2023. French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, wrote on November 15, 2023 to the staff of the Centre Pompidou, partly on strike, without giving in on the question of a single location where they would be redeployed during its forthcoming five-year closure, according to a letter consulted by AFP. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP) (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Pompidou workers went on strike in mid-October over concerns for job security while the center closes for renovations for five years, starting in 2025. According to a statement shared by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), one of five premiere national trade union confederations in France, around 1,000 employees across departments will be impacted by the closure. The union sought written guarantees from administration that there was a plan to for its staff, collections, and usual programming.

Adding to the unrest, workers have grown increasingly concerned about the center’s “cultural project,” or the program for its re-opening, which the workers have criticized as ill-planned and expensive. The $200 million program involves a significant increase in loans from the museum’s collection to institutions worldwide. Additionally, staff said that the millions in income promised by lending contracts isn’t worth the potential risk to artworks as they crisscross the globe.

Negotiations between the five trade union and unions and the culture ministry stalled in November 2023. The following month, the union again extended its strike, this time through January 15.

Per Le Monde, under the new agreement, the Public Information Library (BPI) will be relocated to the Lumière building, in Paris’s Bercy Village. The Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, a historic exhibition hall, will stage exhibitions on behalf of the shuttered space. Details of what such programming will look like are still to come.  

“This agreement is essential to ensure the protection of our colleagues during the renovation period of the Center Pompidou,” Alexis Fritche, CFDT-Culture general secretary, said in a statement. “I thank the workers and management for their spirit of responsibility.”

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