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.
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”.
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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.
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
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.”