The Fitness First branch in Dubai Festival City. Trainers are crying foul over non-payment of commission. Image Credit: Megan Hirons/XPRESS

Dubai: Personal fitness trainers at a centre in Dubai said a two-month delay in getting commissions has left them unable to meet their personal obligations.

Fitness First, one of the largest privately owned health club groups in the world, has over 100 personal fitness trainers in the UAE and many say the delay is making life difficult for them.

Not enough money

While silver-rated trainers get paid a basic salary of around Dh2,800, or less, in Dubai, most gold-rated fitness trainers do not get a basic salary, but earn their living through commissions, which could be anything between Dh14,000 and Dh20,000 if they hit a monthly "conduction" (training session with customers) quota of a certain number of hours.

Silver trainers must obtain a certificate to advance to gold.

However, these gold-rated trainers are now being treated on a par with silver-rated trainers.

"We are paid a ‘basic salary' [of Dh2,800 for compliance with Labour rules], which is not enough and even that is delayed by a few days. My commission has been delayed for up to two months now. We've been told there's not enough money, but that's a wrong excuse," a gold-rated trainer said, adding that they survive on these commissions and he and his colleagues have had to borrow money from friends to meet expenses.

Trainers said they started facing payment delays from last year.

The delay seems to be selective, though. "I've had no problems getting my salary and commissions on time," said an Asian physical therapist who recently joined Fitness First as a gold trainer.

A regular customer said: "It is not right that the trainers are unable to get their dues at the end of the month when we all pay in advance for the work they do."

Personalised training

Personalised training costs between Dh2,649 (for a 10-hour package, plus one hour free) and Dh5,799 for a 25-hour package (plus 5 hours free), which must be completed within six months.

Two other trainers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the delays and hoped they would be paid soon.

Fitness First UAE, which has nine clubs in the country, was launched as a franchise owned and operated under licence by Leisure Unlimited LLC, a joint venture between Global Brands and the F.A. Al Hokair Group of Saudi Arabia. The company was originally founded in the UK in 1993 and has grown to 18 countries worldwide.

No comment was immediately available from Fitness First.