Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's Hogmanay 'exploiting people'

Street party Image copyright Chris Watt

The organisers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay are being accused of exploiting people by asking them to work for free.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay has called on Underbelly to withdraw 300 unpaid jobs immediately describing it as a scandal.

The company said its volunteer roles as ambassadors and dancers would give experience of being involved in a major international event.

It stressed all events are fully staffed with paid-for professional stewards and security staff.

It said volunteers do not replace them in any way.

An Edinburgh's Hogmanay spokeswoman said: "Edinburgh's Hogmanay employs more than 1,700 paid-for staff.

"Our volunteer roles are not in any way mandatory to the successful or safe running of the festival but are there to provide opportunities for people who want to get involved in major international events either for experience, camaraderie or any other reason, and who choose to volunteer.

"All events are fully staffed with paid for professional stewards and security staff, and volunteers do not replace them in any way.

"Our Volunteer Charter formally lays out the commitments we're making to volunteers which includes paid travel, subsistence expenses, training, access to other events at Edinburgh's Hogmanay and a certificate for taking part."

MSP Ross Greer, culture spokesman for the Scottish Greens, said: "Edinburgh's Hogmanay is world-famous but Scotland's reputation will be tarnished if Underbelly go ahead with this mass exploitation programme.

"Hogmanay is a big money-maker for the businesses involved, those who staff the event, and make it a success, deserve fair pay for the shifts they put in.

"I'm sure the corporate and public sponsors won't want to be associated with unfair treatment."

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