AEG has been forced to lay off employees as part of cost-reduction measures, while 50 Spanish culture and arts organisations call for aid extensions…

AEG

AEG Presents has announced a large number of layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions as part of a cost-reduction plan starting July 1.

AEG chief executive Dan Beckerman announced in an email yesterday (Monday) that the employee cuts are a result of the COVID-19 live events blackout.

The firm, which is the second largest promoter in North America behind only Live Nation, puts on festivals such as Coachella and FireFly, as well as international tours from the likes of Elton John and the Rolling Stones.

AEG Presents chairman and chief executive Jay Marciano said in a follow-up email, which he noted was “the most difficult one I’ve ever had to write,” that most employees affected by the cuts would have the best “safety net” the company could provide.

Marciano added: “Simply put, we will reopen when we are confident that it is safe to do so.” He said that the impact and scope with which the world has changed in the last months has been “impossible to fathom.”

Spanish culture

Leading cultural associations and federations in Spain have urged the government to extend industry aid and employment support programmes.

In an open letter to the Minister of Labour and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, the collective details the importance of the ERTEs support scheme for the survival of cultural institutions. Spain’s ERTE initiative allows firms to temporarily lay off staff or cut hours while allowing them to claim unemployment benefits.

The statement’s 50 signatories include the likes of the Association of Musical Promoters (APM), the Spanish Music Federation and the Union of Professional Musicians, among many others.

It highlights that even as the country begins to reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown and industries begin to return to activity, cultural organisations will “suffer capacity restrictions, extraordinary expenses, and a general drop in attendance.”

The letter requests for the extension of the ERTEs for the cultural sectors at least until the end of December, which has already been granted for industries such as tourism and the automotive sector.

The group is also requesting the extension of aid for cessation or significant reduction of activity to companies and self-employed workers, and aid to artists, workers and professionals, as well as to maintain aid to corporate self-employed workers and the matching of aid and work in intermittent contracts.

The letter reads: “From our commitment to the collective task of economic and social reconstruction of the country, and to the maintenance of jobs in our sector, we want to insist that measures such as the extension of the ERTEs can prevent the closure of cultural companies or the loss of jobs of the different professionals of the Culture.”

Ulster Rugby

Ulster Rugby Supporters’ Club chairman Jonathan Bill claims season ticket holders are “generally happy” with the Irish Pro14 club’s decision to offer credit rather than a refund.

Season ticket holders are entitled to an account credit worth 20 per cent of the passes value and half-season ticket holders will be entitled to claim a 50 per cent account credit.

Individual ticket holders are able to claim a full refund, with all claims to be made by June 30.

The season was suspended indefinitely in March and Ulster’s chief executive Jonny Petrie said the club has to make “decisions which place the long-term interests of our supporters at the forefront”.

Bill said, according to the BBC: “People realise that Ulster have no choice in the matter. There is a widespread feeling that we spent that money 12 months ago and Ulster needs it more than we do.

“These are unprecedented times and fans understand Ulster don’t have all the answers.”

For the 2020-21 season, Ulster, which plays at 18,000-capacity Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, has also announced that it will offer a club membership initiative instead of season tickets, which will include priority access to tickets.