WARNINGS about a growth in the "exploitation of workers" at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through poverty wages and unpaid work will be highlighted at April's annual conference of Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society countered that while it is accredited living wage employer it does not control the hundreds of Fringe venues and admits that not all follow its example.

The STUC conference in Aviemore will hear claims about poor employment rights and contract terms for those working at the festival.

A Musicians' Union motion to the STUC talks about “the exploitation of workers in terms of wage rates, contractual arrangements, terms and conditions, and working hours” at the world famous annual summer event in Scotland's capital.

The union also says many performers have to agree to "pay-to-play arrangements" as well as accept administration charges that mean they are effectively subsidising the main Fringe venues and event promoters.

It states: "It is acknowledged that these festivals provide significant opportunities in terms of employment of musicians and other artistes, together with technical and other support staff.

“However, it is noted with concern that there is a growing instance at the Fringe towards the exploitation of workers in terms of wage rates, contractual arrangements, terms and conditions, and working hours; unpaid internships and ‘volunteer’ labour; ‘pay-to-play’ arrangements; and artistes effectively ‘subsidising’ the larger venues and promoters in terms of, for example, PR and marketing charges, box office and admin charges, etc."

The union calls on the congress, which takes place between April 24 to 26, to launch a recruitment campaign to make it easier for Fringe staff to join unions and win greater protection from low pay.

In response, a spokesperson from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: "The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the organisation that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and supports artists and audiences taking part in the world’s largest arts festival, is an accredited living wage employer.

"The Fringe Society does not control or run Fringe venues which come in different shapes and sizes, some run by volunteers, and some by temporary staff and while the Fringe Society supports the living wage, it recognises that not all venues are in a position to adopt it."