Glastonbury issues statement in response to zero-hours contract reports

Festival organisers respond to recent reports

Glastonbury has responded to recent reports about zero-hours contracts at the festival.

This year’s Glastonbury Festival took place at its traditional home of Worthy Farm from June 21-25, with Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran headlining.

Following this year’s event, The Independent reported last week that the festival had “hired hundreds of workers from across Europe on zero hours contracts and then fired them after just two days”. The report also alleged that “700 people who were signed up as litter pickers expecting two weeks of paid employment” had been “stranded and out of pocket in the Somerset countryside”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who appeared and spoke to huge crowd at the festival, later responded, condemning the use of zero-hours contracts. A spokesman for Corbyn said: “Jeremy and the Labour party have taken a very strong stand against the use of zero-hours contracts, and the exploitation of migrant and other workers, and the spread of all manner of insecure agency working, and we would take that view wherever it happened. That goes not just for zero-hour contracts but other forms of exploitation – bogus self-employment, fake agency working and so on.”

Now Glastonbury has posted a statement to its official website, stating that the festival’s litter picking team were given “temporary worker agreements”, were paid and “provided with free meals and access to on-site facilities”. The statement goes on to explain that clean-up efforts were completed after two and a half days, considerably shorter than in previous years, because 2017’s event “was an unusually dry one”. “Those who weren’t able to leave the site over the weekend were given further meals, plus assistance with travel to nearby towns with public transport links,” the organisers add.

Read the full statement beneath:

“In response to recent stories in the media, we would like to state that Glastonbury Festival’s post-event litter picking team are all given temporary worker agreements for the duration of the clean-up. As well as being paid, they are provided with free meals and access to on-site facilities.

The length of the clean-up varies considerably from year to year, based largely upon the weather conditions before, during and after the Festival. This is something the litter pickers – many of whom return year after year – are made aware of in their worker agreements (which assure them of a minimum of eight hours’ work).

This year was an unusually dry one for Glastonbury. That, coupled with a fantastic effort from Festival goers in taking their belongings home, meant that the bulk of the litter picking work was completed after 2.5 days (in 2016, a very wet year, the equivalent period was around 10 days).

All but a core crew of litter pickers were advised that there was no further work available after Friday (June 30). Those who weren’t able to leave the site over the weekend were given further meals, plus assistance with travel to nearby towns with public transport links.

We’d like to thank the litter pickers for their work on the clean-up, which was – as always – hugely valued by the Festival.”