Damning new report exposes 'terrible' and 'shameful' working conditions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Damning new report exposes 'terrible' and 'shameful' working conditions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Damning new report exposes 'terrible' and 'shameful' working conditions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
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A damning new dossier exposing “terrible” and shameful” working practices at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been revealed by anti-exploitation campaigners.

New research published days ahead of venues opening across the city has raised fresh concerns about the treatment of volunteers, payment and working hours of staff, age discrimination and the use of over-crowded accommodation.

Activists have accused Fringe operators of being “far more secretive” about the pay and conditions they are offering staff to work at the event following growing scrutiny since the campaign was launched two years ago.

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However a string of key players have been named in the new report by the Fair Fringe campaign, including Pleasance, Underbelly, Bound and Gagged, Zoo and The Space.

Campaigners claim the new findings, which are based on recruitment adverts placed in recent months, have highlighted how “embedded the expectation to work to the point of exhaustion has become at the festival”.

Some promoters are said to expect staff to work for an entire month without a day off, openly advertising posts at below the rate of the National Minimum Wage of £9 an hour, and offer perks like free tickets instead of proper pay.

Controversy flared this year when the Fair Fringe campaign demanded C Venues be banned from the official festival programme over a financial model it claimed was “built on exploitation, underpayment and overworked staff”.

A damning new dossier exposing “terrible” and shameful” working practices at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been revealed by anti-exploitation campaigners.

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The dossier claims there is still widespread use of “volunteer labour” across the festival in a bid to keep operating costs of venues down, despite the actions of C Venues being highlighted when the company won two out of three “Bad Boss Awards” instigated by the Fair Fringe campaign last year.

The new research states: “Since last year our campaign has made massive strides forward and a host of venues have made some excellent improvements. However, sadly there are still too many workers being exploited and too many companies failing to treat their staff with respect.

“We noticed that this year companies have been far more secretive about their pay and conditions – they now know we are watching and their exploitation will not go unchallenged. Even with all this though, there are still many job adverts advertising terrible working conditions for

staff.

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“This report is a glimpse into the shameful practices that employers use to staff their venues through underpay, discrimination, tied housing and overwork. We want to see this all end and with it will come a Fringe that is fair and works for all.”

However, Pleasance director Anthony Alderson said: “The legacy of our volunteering programme is incredibly positive with volunteers going on to build careers in major theatrical institutions across the globe.”