The Director General of Cultural Heritage, Paula Silva, revealed today that the Jeronimos Monastery and the National Museum of Archeology in Lisbon will have automatic ticket offices starting from November, thus freeing workers for other functions.
Paula Silva revealed at the conference ‘Cultural Heritage Challenges XXI’, which is being held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon when asked about the strike started today by the employees of the Jerónimos Monastery, National Archaeological Museum (MNA) and Torre de Belém.
“We are taking measures that are contrary to and try to solve many of the issues that are posed on this strike, but they are time-consuming to implement,” said the director-general.
Officials from those three cultural venues began four days of strike action – especially affecting the opening hours – in protest of the lack of working conditions, namely exhaustion, lack of cleanliness and sanitary conditions, delays in the payment of additional work, of enjoyment of rest and alteration of the vacation period.
Paula Silva explained that some of these employees, who work as ticket agents, may have other functions after the automatic ticketing starts: “We are making a change of thought and I hope that the workers will be less burdened by work because they do not that’s what we want. ”
Starting in November, automatic ticket offices will be in operation at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and at the National Archaeological Museum, and later at the Belém Tower, at the monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaça, and at the Convento de Cristo in Tomar.
“This is a measure that we are taking and I consider the most important that we are implementing. It is to be extended to all museums, palaces and monuments of the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage. the most important one, because it is where more money circulates, “said the director-general.
In the case of Lisbon, five ticket vending machines will be placed at the entrance of the MNA and are also destined for the Jeronimos Monastery, as they share spaces in the Belém area.
“This ticketing will allow some employees to be able to be vigilant because the pressure of buying tickets is huge with those huge queues of people. We already have machines purchased to extend to a large set of monuments, including the Tower of Bethlehem”, said.
Asked about the possibility of hiring more technical assistance for the DGPC, Paula Silva referred the matter to the tutelage of Culture: “The new minister [Graça Fonseca] has this in her agenda as one of the most important points and will probably give information very soon on this subject. The question of putting ticketing will greatly alter this situation. ”
Another reason for the workers’ standstill is related to lack of sanitary conditions, with the presence of rats in the facilities, a case that Paula Silva circumscribed to the Tower of Belém, “a very small monument located inside the river, which has some constraints of animals that circulate and is very difficult to control. ”
According to the manager, the DGPC has a “contract with a company and has regularly done the disinfestations, and sometimes it is necessary to do extra disinfestations”.
According to the DGPC’s activity report for 2017, last year, the Jerónimos Monastery received more than one million visitors (1,080,902), while the National Museum of Archeology – which functions in one of the wings of this monastery – 167,634 entries.
In 2017, the Torre de Belém had 575,875 visitors.
Paula Silva spoke on the first day of the two-day ‘Cultural Heritage Challenges XXI’ conference, organized by the DGPC, which she called ‘a high point in the European Year of Cultural Heritage’, with the presence of several scholars, specialists and personalities linked to heritage.
“The European Year of Cultural Heritage is a defining moment in which Europe decides to speak about Heritage, but it should be the first year that Culture is set as one of the pillars of development of Europe and the recognition of the European identity and this is a lot important and has to be talked about and discussed, “he said.