UK holiday firms cut 30% of seasonal jobs abroad in EU

Jobs cuts of 30% linked to Brexit are highlighted in a survey of independent British travel businesses which send Britons to do seasonal postings in other EU countries such as France.

An organisation representing around 200 such firms, SBiT (Seasonal Business in Travel), says a survey of 65 of its members found they have cut 1,700 jobs since 2016, directly related to fears that Brexit will mean the end of the ‘posted worker’ status that most of them rely on for their business model.

Scaled up across all such jobs for Britons it means around 3,200 jobs lost at the most conservative estimate, the organisation says. Most of them would have been filled by Britons aged 18-34.

The survey is part of a report by SBiT which also found for example a 19% cut in holiday programmes, or 3,800 fewer beds per week, which has meant the firms have had to increase the prices of their holidays.

The posted worker arrangements allow people who are employed by a UK firm, for example, and pay UK tax and national insurance, to be sent to work temporarily in France, on secondment to a branch of the same firm in France or to a French firm that bills the UK firm for their work.

This simple arrangement is only possible between EU states and would end after any Brexit transition period and SBiT predicts that many firms will be forced to close or sell up if Brexit goes ahead.

Brexit would also end the ordinary freedom to live and work around the EU which can enable a Briton to go and work for a French firm and be hired on the same basis as a French person. 

After Brexit Britons wanting to work for a French firm would need a visa and the firm would have to advertise the job at Pôle Emploi first and obtain permission to hire the British worker - formalities likely to be off-putting for a short seasonal job.

A SBiT spokesman, managing director of European Pubs Ltd Charles Owen, said among an estimated 25,000 Britons who were estimated to do seasonal work in other EU countries in 2016, most would have been posted, and some others were on local contracts.

“Our members rely on Britain’s EU membership to be able to post workers out. If we leave, it doesn’t apply any more.

“A large amount of Brits work in the ski and summer holiday industry in France and if this system goes away there will be massive changes in the industry and impact the lives of thousands of people that rely on the British outbound tourist industry.”

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