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The future is bleak for the more than 10,000 workers employed in the fitness industry with eased restrictions in Victoria not allowing for the reopening of gyms.

Without JobKeeper, people employed in gyms and other fitness facilities are facing a drastic drop in income for at least another week.

The industry has already faced a sharp decline after jobs for those employed in ‘Sports and Physical Recreation Activities’ were halved in 2020, according to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.

Under the Federal Government’s COVID grant scheme, many fitness workers have been deemed ineligible and those that have qualified had to jump through hoops to secure the payment of either $500, or $350-per-week, dependent on hours worked. Both payments were well below the poverty line.

“Workers in the fitness industry have been overlooked throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” United Workers Union Allied Director Godfrey Moase said.

“This is an industry which overwhelmingly employs young workers, an already vulnerable group of people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“Younger people are also much more likely to be renting, rather than living in their own home, so it’s not an exaggeration to say many are staring down eviction and homelessness, after eviction moratoriums were lifted in Victoria.

The United Workers Union (UWU), along with other unions, has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reinstate JobKeeper in times of crisis and to have better oversight of the program to ensure workers, rather than corporations were the beneficiaries of income support.

“The State Government needs to provide some certainty to these workers by better explaining the risks of transmission in gyms versus hospitality, but more importantly the Federal Government needs to take responsibility for income support and the prevention of future pandemics to ensure all workers are able to participate in the workforce into the future,” Moase said.

“Scott Morrison needs to do his job and reinstate JobKeeper to its previous level and ensure direct support to workers.”

11 June 2021


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