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Fitness professional union affiliates with Unite

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A personal trainer hoping to secure contracts and minimum levels of pay for fitness professionals has received backing from the largest union in the UK.

Ashley Simcock – a PT from the north west – launched the Fitness Professionals Association just before Christmas in 2016, and has now been backed by Unite.

The association has just over 1,000 members.

Simcock told Health Club Management that the idea to launch the group was born out a frustration at the level of pay he and his contemporaries were being offered by large gym chains to take classes, and limited scope for freelance professionals to gain proper contracts.

He estimated that fitness professionals were being paid, on average, around £15-£20 per class, but suggested that £30-£40 was more appropriate for the level of training they had received, as well as the time and effort put into class preparation.

“I didn’t realise how bad the pay actually was,” he said. “Particularly when you think about how much time you spend preparing for a class and travelling for a class.

“The gyms decide the rate. Give me another profession where the customer decides how much they want to pay.”

Simcock added: “We’re trying to encourage contracts and freelance terms – a massive per cent of self-employed people in the industry have zero-hours contracts.”

He was quick to point out, however, that despite achieving affiliation with Unite, a lot of work needs to be done to get people to sign up to the union to achieve the change he is looking for.

“We’re not going to be able to ask for more money overnight,” he explained. “We’ll need at least 40-50 per cent of any workplace to have collective bargaining, and we need many more self-employed professionals to get involved as well.”

Simcock, though, has managed to secure a number of benefits for people who join the union, such as personal injury cover, a free will and a free half hour of employment consultation for any member.

Those interested in signing up can also pay for enhanced benefits, such as incapacity benefits and permanent disability benefits.

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A personal trainer hoping to secure contracts and minimum levels of pay for fitness professionals has received backing from the largest union in the UK.
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