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First Joint FIA-LA and UNI MEI / Panartes Webinar on COVID-19 return to work protocols in Latin America – 7 October 2020


FIA and UNI MEI brought their regional memberships together to share experience and best practices with respect to ensuring maximum safety on set or on stage in post lockdown, pre-vaccine environment in Latin America. Over 40 trade union leaders from FIA-LA and UNI MEI-Panartes logged-in on October 7 to follow the online event and discuss the existing response to the COVID-19 crisis for the live performance and audiovisual sectors.

The event was organized as part of a 3 year project, funded with the support of the Swedish union Teaterförbundet and Union to Union, aimed at increasing the capacity of union leaders in Latin America to make unions more powerful and sustainable. Since all project meetings for 2020 were unfortunately cancelled, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our federations have however resorted to carrying out some of the capacity building work by teleconference, with a series of online seminars on facing the Covid 19 crisis at regional level in Latin America.

For this first interactive Webinar, the federations had chosen to focus on good practices from Argentina, where a new protocol has been released after the summer. Several smaller health & safety agreements had already been negotiated between specific unions and employers in Argentina as an emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis during the springtime, but the New Global Argentinean Protocol is much broader and inclusive. This 72 page document is the outcome of months of negotiations between the Argentinean government, the employers and professional associations as well as all the unions of the sector.

Delegates from 4 different Argentinean unions took the floor to present the global protocol and comment on specific elements and contents affecting workers of the sector. The agreement details how prevention of the COVID-19 virus in the filming and/or recording and post-production of fictions and documentaries for film, television and content for audiovisual platforms, should be carried out and applied.  Alejandra Rincon  from AAA (Association Argentina de Actores) took part in the discussion panel to explain the measures and protocols specifically applying to performers. The presentations were followed by an extensive Q&A session, which gave the opportunity to all participants to exchange experiences and deepen their understanding of the Argentinean protocols and negotiation processes in response to the sanitary crisis.

Three more Webinars on COVID-19, destined to all FIA and UNI MEI members in Latin-America, will be organised between November and December 2020. In addition to the webinars, the project funders from Union to Union also agreed to finance a Study on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on media & entertainment sector in the Americas.

The study aims to analyze the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the sector in the Americas (North and South America) and the response trade unions are adopting to mitigate the negative impacts for workers in the sector, incl. recommendation for specific follow-up activities at regional level on this issue after 2020 ( the geographic scope of the study includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, the USA and Uruguay). Another activity scheduled for 2020 is the internal evaluation of the project, carried out by external expert Patricia Kistenmacher, who already lead a similar evaluation in 2016. The evaluation work started in September with a view at measuring progress and improving methodologies for our joint U2U projects in Latin-America.