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Trade Union Movement Backs MU Position on Touring in the EU at TUC

Musicians’ Union member Robert Scott moved a motion on touring in the EU at the TUC’s annual Congress.

Published: 31 October 2022 | 2:21 PM Updated: 31 October 2022 | 4:51 PM
MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl holds a red sign reading
The quickest way to secure your right to work in the EU is a Labour Government.

The motion highlights the bureaucratic, logistical and financial obstacles experienced by MU members, and calls on the TUC’s General council to lobby the UK Government for support with touring.

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl said:

“The MU is pleased that our motion on touring in the EU passed today. For our members, the issues caused by the Government’s hard Brexit still exist and are having a hugely detrimental effect on their ability to tour and make a living.

“With the TUC’s support we need to ensure that the Government commits to improving the situation for musicians.”

MU lobbying work continues

General Secretary Naomi Pohl represented MU members on this issue at both the Labour and Conservative party conferences last month.

The MU is advocating for bilateral agreements so that musicians can do more than 90 days of work in a 180 day period. “I have been speaking to MPs about this and David Lammy's team indicated that he could raise the problems in his talks with EU member states,” Naomi said.

Read more in Naomi’s latest political update.

Brexit is stifling the music industry

Two new reports, which the MU contributed to, show how the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement is affecting musicians now.

Let The Music Move, by a cross party group of MPs, recommends the creation of a Transitional Support Fund to help UK music exporters with the increased costs of trading in Europe post-Brexit. It also recommends a Cultural Touring agreement to cut red tape and costs involved in EU touring, similar to the Musicians’ Passport proposed by the MU since 2016.

The Creative Sector: A UK Success Story Under Threat, by the Independent Commission for UK-EU Relations, also highlights the importance of regularly and repeatedly working in the EU to musicians’ careers and the sustainability of the UK’s music industry. It also calls for a cultural exemption to be added to the Trade and Co-operation Agreement to remove visas, work permits and other red tape and costs affecting musicians and other creative workers.

Read more in the MU’s latest Brexit update by MU Head of International Dave Webster.

General election now: mass rally of Parliament

Musicians who rely on touring in the EU have strong and vocal cross party support, but successive Conservative governments have failed to act. The quickest way to secure your right to work in the EU is a Labour Government.

Join the TUC’s mass rally on Wednesday 2 November.

Full text of the MU motion to Trades Union Congress 2022

Since the lifting of Covid restrictions, 2022 has seen a much needed but tentative restart to touring in the EU. Unfortunately, this has highlighted the major bureaucratic, logistical and financial obstacles to successful touring for musicians and other performers.

These issues are particularly acute for smaller and medium sized artists who do not have the finances and staff support to overcome the numerous administrative obstacles now in their path.

Congress calls on the General Council to support the Musicians’ Union’s call to government to:

i. provide a transitional support package to help musicians with the additional costs of touring

ii. work with the music industry to create an information hub to provide a reliable ‘one stop shop’ resource for the creative industries.

iii. agree a creative industries passport for people, equipment and services to allow EU-wide touring

iv. find a permanent exemption for all specialist hauliers and those with own account vehicles to tour the EU and UK.

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Small blue toy car over a map of Europe.

Take Part in the MU’s New Survey on Touring in the EU Post Brexit

Your answers are key to helping us assess the impact leaving the EU has had on touring musicians, and if our specialist information and guidance has been useful or needs improving. Your feedback is also vital in shaping our work when liaising with government.

Published: 03 April 2024

Read more about Take Part in the MU’s New Survey on Touring in the EU Post Brexit