Thursday, June 20, 2024

MEPs to feel the burn and run their own gym

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“The return on this investment is lower rates of absenteeism through illness and stress, and a more committed workforce.”

The projected annual cost of running the facility is €268,444, but the Parliament hopes to get 500 people to pay €500 a year in membership fees, leaving a shortfall of €18,444 to come from the Parliament’s budget. The current annual membership fee is €655.

There are about 500 members of the gym at present, down from 1,000 in 2014.

“With limited opening hours, reduced staff and activities, realistic membership fees, all projections show self-sufficiency,” said Armin Machmer, Parliament President Martin Schulz’s spokesperson.

The decision to go in-house came after a disagreement between two outside contractors over Belgian labor law, according to Parliament officials. As a result of the dispute, the gym has been open for fewer hours and with fewer exercise classes and services such as beauticians and osteopaths.

The Parliament switched contractors for its fitness center at the beginning of the year after a previous contract expired. But the Parliament’s personnel chief, Herwig Kaiser, wrote in a memo to MEPs and officials that the new operator of the facility, a Dutch company called High Five, refused to keep employing six staffers who worked for the previous contractor, Nuffield Health, as required under Belgian law.

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