April 2nd in Cork, union members gathered from across the island, with many contributing via Zoom, for the second Annual General Meeting of Praxis: The Artists Union of Ireland. The campaign that members most felt the need for was ‘A Wage To Live On’, which is to promote the Living Wage as a minimum rate for artists.
‘The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable minimum standard of living. Unlike the National Minimum Wage, the Living Wage is an evidence-based rate of pay which is grounded in social consensus. A minimum standard of living was agreed by focus groups and costed by Living Wage Ireland. Currently, it is valued at 12.90euros per hour.
‘The Living Wage is calculated with the figure of an able-bodied adult without dependents in mind. It does not account for costs such as childcare, carers, chronic health issues, or, in the context of artists, the costs of art production. It is therefore the very minimum we should be asking for in exchange for our labour. We should remember that anything less than a livable wage is an ‘unlivable’ wage. Working for below the living wage means regularly facing choices between rent or healthcare, food or art materials, heating or social activities. This situation is not acceptable for anybody living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.’
(Submitted by Kerry Guinan)
Praxis members, organisers and elected officers will begin fleshing out this campaign in the coming weeks and will work with arts organisations, follow unions and the Irish Living Wage Technical Group to educate and amplify the voice of the many artists struggling under escalating living costs.
In its first year, Praxis has continued to excel beyond membership targets, with a new goal of 400 members by 2023 agreed to on the day.
Following the AGM in Cork’s Rebel Reads, there was a small social in local music venue, Coughlans, with a brave few finishing their night in Crane Lane. The day after consisted of organising/recruitment training for interested council members and organisers.
Full minutes and motions passed will be emailed to members for review, please reach out to email@example.com if you’d like to work with your fellow artists to improve your work and living conditions.
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