– Will the National Union of Picadores and Banderilleros of Spain (UNPBE) file a judicial complaint for alleged prevarication against the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz?
– “At the moment, only one has been filed against the provincial director of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) of Seville, which is the province in which the largest number of applications have been denied; but our intention is to continue this procedure with other provincial directorates. The resolutions are not signed by the minister, but in the evidentiary phase, the defendants will be asked if they have received instructions from their superiors, and, if it is shown that there has been a political determination to transgress the law, we will sue the minister ”.
David Prados and Antonio José Martínez, president and legal advisor, respectively, of the UNPBE responded. Both tell an unlikely, astonishing, and hardly credible story, dotted with comic overtones, but dramatically real, of the relations of the bullfighting world with the ministries of Culture and, especially, with Labor.
The two are convinced that there is a political decision to ignore, mistreat, marginalize and discriminate against the world of bullfighting by Yolanda Díaz, head of Labor. The two are also grateful to the Minister of Culture, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, for his positive disposition to the demands of the sector, but they also reproach him for ‘washing his hands’ in the face of the “outrageous” attitude of his fellow minister.
As this blog published on August 2, the matter is a consequence of the pandemic that has paralyzed the bullfighting season. The Government approved on March 17 a Royal Decree-Law of extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of covid-19 that did not affect bullfighters, because they are not autonomous nor can they benefit from an ERTE when maintaining employment contracts with different companies, according to the place in which they operate.
Culture invited the bullfighters to include a text in the decree law and it was rejected by the Council of Ministers
Subsequently, on May 5, another decree was approved containing measures to support the cultural sector that specifically included “artists in public performances.”
Those matadors, bullfighters, rejoneadores picadors, banderilleros and swordmen who had quoted in 2019, but not enough to access a regular unemployment benefit, requested the SEPE for the help provided in this decree for ‘artists’.
The first applications, no more than ten, were accepted, until the Ministry of Labor ordered the opposite to the provincial directorates of the SEPE, which has denied the almost 250 requests of picadores and banderilleros presented because they do not recognize them as’ artists in public shows ‘.
The UNPBE understands that Labor’s refusal has an exclusively political motivation due to the fact that the minister, a member of Podemos, rejects the bullfighting festival.
Bullfighting professionals consider that current legislation attributes them the status of ‘artists in public shows’ because this is stated in Royal Decree-Law 1435/1985 of August 1, which in the third section of article 1 states that “they are included ( …) all the relationships established for the execution of artistic activities carried out directly before the public or destined to the recording of any kind for its diffusion among the same, in media such as theater, cinema, radio broadcasting, television, Bullrings, sports facilities, circus, party rooms, discotheques, and, in general, any premises that are habitually or accidentally used for public shows, or artistic or exhibition performances ”.
Despite this, Trabajo denies them the consideration of artists and rejects applications for aid.
But this strange relationship between bullfighters and public administration does not end here. The next chapter reaches curious, unusual and pilgrim edges.
David Prados and Antonio José Martínez tell us that “Culture accepted from the beginning that the aid granted to other cultural disciplines also corresponded to bullfighters, and both the minister and the secretary general of the ministry recognize bullfighting activity as cultural work.”
“So much so”, they continue, “that it is they who invite us to include in the draft of the decree-law of aid of May 5 a text tailored to the bullfighting sector for approval by the Council of Ministers.”
And so they do. The surprise comes to them when the Government approves a definitive text and they verify that the allusion to bullfighting professionals has disappeared.
“It is evident that Yolanda Díaz intends to end the sector” (UNPBE)
But there is more. Days after the aid was known, the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM), dependent on Culture, published an informative circular on the content of the royal decree-law in which, among other questions, it explained what is the definition of ‘artists in public performances’. To do this, he repeated the paragraph cited a few lines above the decree of 1985, but the words’Bullrings‘were replaced by an ellipsis.
Adds David Prados, president of the UNPBE, that “the Minister of Culture tried to console us with the promise that the text of the decree would be modified in its parliamentary validation”, scheduled for July 11, and postponed, then, until September. “We hope that by then a new wording will be offered; It seems that this is how it is agreed between the different political groups ”.
“Meanwhile, Mr. Rodríguez Uribe, Minister of Culture, encourages us to appeal the requests denied by the Ministry of Labor,” continues Prados, “which makes no sense; It would be more logical for him to negotiate with the minister, who is a member of the same government, instead of encouraging us to initiate a judicial process ”.
“It is clear that the Minister of Labor wants to end the sector,” said the legal adviser.
Negotiations with the ministry are at a standstill; rather, they have never existed. A scheduled meeting with the general director of SEPE was suspended one day before its celebration.
Antonio José Martínez maintains that, in his opinion, it is not a question of money. And he offers two arguments: the first, that the economic amount of the aid requested by the bullfighters “is a speck of dust compared to the ERTES granted”; and on the other hand, “the professional who is denied the benefit -785 euros- has the right to family assistance -430 euros- as long-term unemployed; As can be seen, the difference is minimal, hence the most serious thing is that Trabajo does not want to recognize that it helps bullfighters, and they are pointed out, as in totalitarian regimes, as different in order to separate them from society ”.
So far the development of events. Strange, but dramatic, according to the testimony of the two representatives of the bullfighting union.
At the present time, the applicants who have had their petition denied have submitted a prior claim through administrative channels. In total, about 250 corresponding to picadors and banderilleros, although they could reach 400 if they include matadors, bullfighters, rejoneadores and swordmen.
The official response to the claim exhausts the administrative procedure. The next step is a lawsuit before the social courts. Six have already been presented: two in Logroño, and one in Badajoz, Cáceres, Valencia and Segovia. “Our intention”, concludes Martínez, “is to file a lawsuit for each of the rejected claims.”
“And if it is shown that there has been political intent, we will file a complaint for prevarication against the minister, as we have already done with the director of the SEPE in Seville. We are going to exhaust all the avenues within our reach, because bullfighters have the same rights as the rest of the workers of other cultural disciplines ”.