Taking a Stand over capital comedy staff getting home safely

A year-round comedy club has become the first major late-night venue in Edinburgh to sign up to a trade union campaign to ensure late-night workers get home safely.

By Brian Ferguson
Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 7:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 7:47 pm
Comedian Bridget Christie at The Stand Comedy Club Picture by JANE BARLOW

Comedian Bridget Christie at The Stand Comedy Club Picture by JANE BARLOW ©

The Stand, in the capital’s New Town, has pledged to provide all staff with free transport home after the last bus, train or tram following extended negotiations with the Unite union.

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Staff at The Stand’s Glasgow club, in the city’s west end, and its outpost in Newcastle, will also be offered paid-for taxis.

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The SWG3 venue, which operates from a converted warehouse in Glasgow’s west end and Strathclyde Student Union in the city centre, have already endorsed the campaign.

It has been set up by union activists involved in Better Than Zero, an initiative aimed at ended exploitation of workers in the hospitality industry.

Its campaigners want all shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas, live entertainment venues and even call centres to guarantee to “provide staff with a safe way home.”

They are also urging the Scottish Government to apply pressure on licensing authorities to ensure proper steps are taken to protect late-night shift workers.

The Safe Home website states: “No more walking home worried about being attacked. No more dodgy customers waiting for us outside.”

Around 60 staff members at The Stand, where Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges appeared as unknowns, will benefit from the move.

General manager Gemma Maramis said: “We recognise the powerful impact of ensuring all members of staff are treated equally, fairly and safely whilst in our employment.

“By ensuring staff have the opportunity to travel back from work after the last public transport has finished, we are pleased to be in the knowledge that staff members are getting home safe following late night shift work in the hospitality departments of the business.

“We feel that it is unfair to offer shifts to employees who may be have to spend 1 or 2 hours’ wages ensuring their safety following late night work and never wish for travel costs to be prohibitive to employment. We’d encourage employers to not think of a workforce as staff but as extended family members.”

Better Than Zero activist Bryan Simpson said: “We are delighted The Stand has met the demands of the Safe Home campaign.

“It means that, unlike most late-night workers, more than 60 staff do not need to worry about how they are getting home after their shift once public transport has stopped.

“As one of Scotland’s best known comedy clubs, this sets an important precedent for the way hospitality workers should be treated across the industry.

“Late-night workers are the bloodline of the hospitality industry and they should not need to choose between walking miles in the dark or spending two hours’ wages on a taxi home at night.

“We look forward to working with Unite members at The Stand to improve conditions even further.”