Unite wins improvements for Edinburgh Festival Fringe ...

Unite wins improvements for Edinburgh Festival Fringe workers

01 June 2018

Unite Scotland has today (Friday 1 June) welcomed Edinburgh City Council commitment to fair work through the introduction of its Festival Workers Welfare commitment.

The Council will recommend all festival organisers follow through on the agreed Council commitments which include: paying workers the Scottish real living wage of £8.75 per hour, ensuring proper rest breaks, anti-discrimination measures, payment of contractual sick pay, halting unpaid trial shifts, receiving tips in full, and employers will have to pay due regard to start and finish times to allow workers to travel home safely. It also calls on employers to work with trade unions.

Unite’s Deputy Scottish secretary, Mary Alexander said: 

“This landmark commitment serves to show Edinburgh City Council is leading the way on addressing unfair and exploitative working practices across the hospitality sector and serves notice on unscrupulous employers looking to make a fast buck during the summer festivals in Edinburgh at the expense of worker’s rights.”

Bryan Simpson from Unite’s Fair Fringe Campaign said:

“We are pleased that Edinburgh City Council has listened to calls from our members at the Fringe that they deserve decent wages and fair conditions like every other worker. With a living wage, minimum hour contracts and protection from discrimination, thousands of hospitality workers across the capital will benefit.”

“For too long now Fringe workers have been thought of by some of the big employers like Underbelly as disposable and not deserving of “luxuries” like the living wage. This commitment serves notice that these practices will no longer be tolerated.” 

“We hope that these changes send a clear message to private sector employers who have been caught-out in the past with sub-standard working conditions that they must buck-up their ideas when it comes to fair hospitality for their workers.”


For further comment contact: Mary Alexander on: 07711237075


Festival Workers Welfare commitment

The 7 commitments cover:

  • Scottish local Government living wage for all irrespective of age 
  • Rest Breaks - 20 minutes after 6 hours work 
  • No Uncertainty of contracted hours- minimum of 24 hours notice where work needs to be undertaken 
  • Prevent harassment and discrimination - Council expects festival orgs to align to same anti discriminatory culture as council 
  • Safety for journeys to and from work - encourages employers to take account of public transport when fixing start and finish times for staff 
  • Worker Welfare and no unpaid trail shifts – expects festival organisations to protect staff from unpaid trial shifts 
  • Worker Tips - Tips should not be used to replace or top up wages and will not count as wages for the purposes of paying the minimum government living wage

An amendment was also accepted.  

 (Organisations should also offer contractual sickness pay, should comply with Health and Safety Regulations, including written risk assessments where appropriate.)

Fair Hospitality Charter

The Fair Hospitality Charter contains ten practices to be implemented by Festival employers: 

  • Pay workers the real living wage; 
  • Give workers rest breaks; 
  • Equal pay for young workers; 
  • Minimum hour contracts for workers; 
  • Adopt clear policies which prevent sexual harassment; 
  • Paid transport after 12am; 
  • Consult workers on rota changes; 
  • Ensure 100% of tips are paid to workers; 
  • No unpaid trial shifts; and 
  • Allow Trade Union access to represent and organise staff.