Gym Group stretches “self-employment” status to breaking point

17 November 2017

The Committee has received a response to its letter questioning the terms of Gym Group’s contract for its personal trainers.

Personal Trainer contracts

Gym Group's response (PDF PDF 678 KB) disputes most of the factors identified by the Committee as being incompatible with a classification of self-employed, yet offers little or no  answer to these points other than to continually restate that the Group's Personal Trainers are "self-employed".

Gym Group's response mentions that "over the course of 2017 we have therefore been working on a new model" for its Personal Trainers "with the intention of announcing changes next year".

The Committee has now also received a copy of a 10th November letter from Gym Group to its Personal Trainers (PDF PDF 319 KB), setting out some new options for models of working.

'Justice for ordinary, hard-working people'

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"This is just one instance that shows everything that's wrong with the gig economy. You can call your workers "self-employed" as many times as you like: it does not make it so. 

The contract, and a raft of emails from management we have also seen, show the multiple ways that Gym Group's personal trainers are expected to behave as employees - yet they get none of the benefits, entitlements or security that should come with that.

The company really is stretching the designation of self-employment to breaking point and beyond.

While the hasty measures the company is apparently now taking to rectify this are welcome, it should not take a select committee acting on a whistle-blower's evidence to get companies to comply with the law.

How many more companies out there, foisting this bogus status of self-employment onto workers to shirk their responsibilities?

On Monday we are publishing a Bill that would end this exploitation by bad business, level the playing field for good business, and achieve justice for ordinary, hard-working people."

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