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Biennalocene is an assembly of art workers from Venice. It was born in May 2023 from a performative investigation by Sale Docks and the Institute of Radical Imagination. The assembly stands as a place of self-organization and mobilization against the precarious and exploitative conditions that characterize the arts sector in our city.

Over the course of several assemblies from June to October 2023, hundreds of workers collectively wrote the Metropolitan Charter of Cultural Work. Its uniqueness (in a sector where precarization is favored by fragmentation and individualization) is that it was born out of a cross-cutting confrontation (facilitated by Sale Docks, Institute of Radical Imagination, ADL Cobas, and Mi Riconosci?), with the intention of affirming the rights of workers who are diverse in terms of tasks, contractualization, and professional aspirations: cultural mediators, cleaners, artists, performers, curators, museum guards, freelancers and waged workers. Our campaign aims to get as many of the city's cultural institutions (museums, foundations, cooperatives, and businesses) to adopt the Charter, taking a decisive step forward on the terrain of labor rights in the arts and culture sector.

Biennalocene is the era when workers' rights transform our city!


This Charter grew out of a field investigation and a series of assemblies involving hundreds of art
workers in Venice. In a sector in which precarization is fostered by fragmentation and individualization, this document is the result of a collaborative cross-sectional negotiation (facilitated by Sale Docks, Institute of Radical Imagination, ADL Cobas, and Mi Riconosci?). Its aim is to affirm the rights of workers (employees or freelancers) differing in terms of tasks, contractualization, and professional aspirations such as: cultural mediators, cleaners, artists, performers, curators, guards. For this very reason, it is an important tool to guide the work of cultural institutions and enterprises operating in Venice. By adopting this Charter, cultural institutions and enterprises choose to give an important signal concerning labor rights in the artistic and cultural sector ; rights that are still endemically disregarded.

Contracting entities as well as the ensemble of economic operators agree to recognize the following:


1- Workers in the cultural sector are workers. They should be considered as such when it comes to respecting the framework of their labor, their personal and professional dignity, and their remuneration, which, according to Article 36 of the Constitution, must be "proportionate to the quantity and  quality of (their) work and in any case sufficient to ensure for themselves and their families a free and dignified existence."

2- To this end, it is defined that the minimum hourly wage cannot be less than 10.00 euros
(excluding contractual provisions, severance pay, and amounts paid for other reasons).
(Hourly minimum means that no one can have lower wages, but that, based on duties, grading, and seniority, wages above the minimum should be recognized.)

3- The national reference contract (Contratto Collettivo Nazionale di Lavoro hereafter CNNL) to be applied in the sector is Federculture CNNL. It is expressly forbidden to use other CCNLs that provide lower pay and rights than Federculture CNNL (as f.i. Multiservizi CCNL, Servizi Fiduciari CNNL, etc.). Provision should be made for second-level improvement agreements.

4- Any outsourcing of client services and activities shall be kept to a minimum and limited to ancillary activities and in any case limited to work that the client is unable to perform themself.
To this end, cultural institutions and enterprises who adopt this Chart undertake to carry out a public disclosure of the quantity, quality and types of said outsourcing, with a view to reinternalizing services where possible. In any case, even in the case of outsourcing, workers’ remuneration may not be lower than that provided for employees of the client or otherwise of Federculture CCNL. This also applies to all entities related to events, whether Italian or foreign. The use of foreign contracts is explicitly prohibited.

5- The contractual reference type is the subordinate employment, with the recognition of all the rights that come with it, such as contractual provisions, vacations, severance pay, benefits in case of sickness and injury, access to unemployment (Naspi) and all social safety nets.

6- Explicitly excluded are all blatantly discriminatory and vexatious contractual forms such as on-call contracts, casual services, vouchers, fake VAT numbers, as well as the figure of the working partner.

7- The possible existence of forms of self-employment should be closely monitored in order to prevent abuses and irregularities. To this end, the contracting entities agree to share tools to
collect all reports of abuse and to make the data public.

8- Self-employment qualifies as such if it ensures complete autonomy, independence, and freedom for the person performing it. Freelancers negotiate their compensation on the basis of their experience, training, and expertise. The commissioning institution does not have the power to impose compensation unilaterally, nor does it have an exclusive relationship with the freelancer who, since they are not employed regularly, cannot be subject to any code of ethics or internal regulations of the commissioning institution. In the case of creative work (artist, performer, curator, etc.) a fair remuneration may be deduced from various models (e.g., W.A.G.E.) accessible online. In any case, as suggests by freelancers association ACTA, the remuneration may not be lower than the remuneration provided by the CCNL applied by the commissioning company to clerical staff of the first level with a 20% increase.

9- Even in the case of fixed-term or seasonal contracts, a clear and transparent path should be
defined, where possible, towards the stabilization of aforementioned contracts. In any case, the right of precedence in event rehiring should be recognized through public and transparent rankings.


10- The time of cultural workers as citizens has inalienable value.

11- To this end, the extreme hourly flexibility that is required of workers should be limited as
much as possible. Their work hours should be stable, split shifts avoided, and any change should be agreed upon with the workers themselves in order to reconcile personal life time and work time.

12- The place of work must be stable. Transfers must be made only on a voluntary basis. Where
there are demonstrable technical needs on the part of the company, a notice should be given no less than 30 days in advance. Disciplinary and/or punitive transfers are prohibited.

13- Breaks are a worker’s right. Food stamps for lunch breaks should be recognized. Suitable spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and canteens should be provided.

14- Democracy must be guaranteed in the workplace. Freedom of expression, organization, and trade unionism must be guaranteed, including through the establishment of collective bargaining tables.


15- Workers' skills are an asset and should be recognized as such, also al the level of their contract and career perspective.

16- Ongoing training must be provided, and this must be adequately remunerated.
Training costs are borne by companies.


17- Internships and Traineeships must be audited to ensure that they do not constitute unpaid
forms of work. Even when they are actually recognized as training courses, they must be
adequately paid.

18- Extracurricular internship: according to Regione Veneto regulations, the allowance for an
extracurricular internship cannot fall below €450 (or €350 with meal vouchers). This allowance should be raised to no less than €650 (or €550 with food vouchers).

19- Curricular internship: the truly educational nature of curricular internship should be ensured.
The host institution or company, in agreement with the home training institution, must also provide for reimbursement of travel expenses, in addition to meal vouchers or cafeteria service. Where the curricular internship is paid, it must remain so.


20- It is, first of all, necessary to ensure compliance with the Safety Consolidation Act Legislative Decree 81/08 (Testo unico sulla sicurezza D.Lgs 81/08), with special attention to information and training on the emergency plan, escape route, fire, and first aid. In general, the quality of training courses on safety must be improved and participation in those courses must be remunerated. It is necessary to provide executive plans for set-ups and exhibits well in advance to allow companies to work on timeframe and schedule that does not compromize the necessary safety conditions.


21- The company or entity is committed to providing an environment free from gender discrimination, sexism, and ableism. It is also committed to establishing periodically convened internal committees or forums composed of female and male workers that provide safe spaces for the emergence and countering of incidents of discrimination against women, queer, racialized, and neurodivergent people.

22- Should the aforementioned commissions request it, the company or entity will declare itself
open to promoting moments of dialogue with movements, associations and anti-violence centers that fight against sexism, racism, and ableism daily.


23- La Biennale di Venezia must bind itself and its national pavilions and collateral events tocompliance with this "Metropolitan charter of cultural work." In any case, it must bind
national participations and collateral events to the adoption of a minimum wage of 10 euros
per hour and the proper workers' contractualization.

24- In order to guarantee workers rights protection La Biennale di Venezia recognizes its joint and several liability to the workers of all national participations and side events with respect to the pay, contribution, and taxation in case of irregularities on the part of the Companies and CollaboratingEntities that manage aforementioned activities.

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