Mr Andrew Kerr
City of Edinburgh Council
Waverley Court 4
East Market Street
Re: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – Volunteers
It has come to my attention that the application process for the recruitment of volunteers to be part of this year’s Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh has now opened, with “expressions of interest” due to close on the 7th of December, 2018.
As you will know, a number of concerns around last year’s Hogmanay event were raised at the time, which included the issue of volunteers working for up to 12 hours on the days leading up to – and including – Hogmanay and New Year’s Day. It was then revealed that volunteers were only receiving meal vouchers and “reasonable” travel expenses. In addition to this, it was noted that to volunteer required time to be given up to attend briefings as well as training/rehearsal sessions in the run-up to the event.
As The City of Edinburgh Council is one of the main sponsors of the celebrations, I am therefore seeking detailed reassurances regarding what steps the Council has taken since last year’s event to ensure those who choose to volunteer at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay are not being exploited in any way. I also seek reassurance that those organising Edinburgh’s Hogmanay are adhering to any rules, codes of conduct or charters in which the City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to in relation to volunteer and workers’ rights.
I understand that the Edinburgh Hogmanay Ambassador’s scheme was founded to give people the opportunity to experience one of the world’s most iconic New Year celebrations, and to be at the heart of the festivities. However, this programme should not be used to exploit workers and volunteers at a time of the year when the capital is bringing in vast amounts of money.
I would be grateful for your comments and reassurance.
Kezia Dugdale MSP
Lothian Region (Labour & Co-operative)