Unions write to von der Leyen, urging movement on touring visas

11 March 2021

Bectu has been working with UNI MEI to apply pressure at an EU level for a reassessment of the new EU trade deal, which will severely limit the ability of UK workers to tour the EU.


UNI MEI, the media, arts and entertainment sector of Bectu-affiliate UNI Global, have written to the Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, urging her to open discussions with UNI Global and find a solution to the restrictions on touring professionals in the UK/EU trade deal.

Read the letter here.

The letter highlights the devastating impact that withdrawing cross-border mobility of touring professionals will have on the cultural industries and the UK economy as a whole. It notes how touring is an essential feature to keep artists and live productions profitable, maintain diversity of performances, and provide artistic wealth. Without the ability to tour freely, UNI MEI predict that the UK ‘will inevitably be confronted with a decline in cultural exchanges’, not to mention a multitude of job losses and business opportunities.

UNI MEI recognise that the cultural sector will not be able to resume at the same speed as many other businesses following the pandemic, due to the extent of losses it has suffered in the past year and the time it takes to set up productions. The added provision of acquiring visas for every European country in a tour only exacerbates this situation and prevents many creatives resuming their work after such a difficult time for the industry.

UNI MEI ask the President of the European Commission to open discussions between the commission and the representative organisations of UNI Global, in order to work out a solution to the problems that the EU Trade Deal presents. The opportunity to work with the European Commission and gain the flexibility necessary for the creative sector to recover and thrive post pandemic, will not only benefit individual touring professionals and venues, but maintain a working business relationship and cultural exchange between the UK and the EU in a post-Brexit landscape.

UNI Global is a longstanding affiliate of Bectu, and we are supporting their efforts in pursuing a fair deal for the UK creative industries. Bectu has been working with UNI MEI and lobbying for a reassessment of the EU Trade Deal and will be continuing the campaign beyond the UK.

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