This is evident from an email that is in the possession of De Telegraaf.
Big Gym director Jasper Otting called on his staff in the mail earlier this week to pose as members of the competing gyms, and then file complaints with the relevant municipality: ‘Tell yourself that you feel unsafe because more than 30 people are in the club at the same time ‘.
The employees were instructed to provide a false name and to ask their municipality for enforcement. According to the mail from director Otting, unlike BigGym, the competitors do not adhere to the rule of 30 people per independent space. ‘Around peak times, up to 100 people can walk,’ says the director. He advises employees to ask for an evening check in their complaint ‘because it is busiest then’.
Various branches of Fit for Free and Basic Fit have received checks in response to the call. “The municipality was on the doorstep here twelve times in recent weeks. All in response to anonymous complaints, ”says a Basic Fit manager.
Director Otting apparently expected a lot from his action. ‘If everyone in your team is participating, the municipality must take action on this’, he concludes his email.
“Director Otting has not worked for BigGym since yesterday,” says lawyer Lex de Jager of the gym on Saturday morning to De Telegraaf after questions about the call. BigGym directors Ali Güner and Claudio Santisi are, according to De Jager, ‘furious about the ridiculous one-man action’ of their director. Güner and Santisi sent a message to all employees on Friday, distancing themselves from Otting’s e-mail. They prohibit their employees from responding to the call. They have also been in contact with the directors of Fit for Free and Basic Fit.
Jasper Otting was previously in the news when he filed a lawsuit against the Dutch state on behalf of the chain with twenty branches throughout the Netherlands last spring, in order to try to gain clarity about the closure of gyms due to corona. Last month, two BigGym branches in Zaandam and Wormerveer were closed for four weeks. According to the safety region, too many people were present at the two gyms at various times.