Belfast City Council must vindicate employment rights of outsourced Leisure workers

052Outsourced management company Greenwich Leisure Ltd effectively threatens 49 leisure workers around city with redundancy unless they accept reduced T&Cs contracts

In addition more than twenty former Andersonstown Road Leisure Centre staff seeking right to return on same conditions of employment at new facility

January 31st: Unite Regional Officer, Michael Keenan, called on Belfast City councillors to vote in support of the rights of leisure workers formerly employed directly by the local authority:

“Belfast City Council will be considering a motion in regard to the rights of leisure workers formerly employed at Andersonstown Road Leisure Facility tomorrow [Thursday February 1st]. It is vital that the councillors vote to ensure that these workers – and those employed at all the leisure centres outsourced to Greenwich Leisure Limited – are protected.

“Unite strongly opposed the outsourcing of what are, and should remain, public amenities warning at the time that an external management company would only be interested in cutting corners in relation to staffing and customer support but also would attack workers’ jobs and T&Cs unremittingly. Sadly, our experience of GLL in the leisure facilities has confirmed that our fears at the time were fully-justified.

“As a concession to the workforce, guarantees were provided by the council that there would be no job-losses, or reduction in pay, T&Cs or pension entitlements of the former council employees. Unite has had to campaign hard and take strike action to ensure no slippage on those promises to the existing workforce but despite our efforts a two-tier workforce has been created where those formerly employed by the council have ‘TUPE protected’ pay and T&Cs and newly employed staff are on GLL contracts meaning lower pay and poor T&Cs.

“Thanks to our efforts more than twenty workers formerly employed at the Andersonstown Road centre were found jobs in other leisure facilities at ‘TUPE-protected’ rates but with the brand new centre reopening those workers want the right to return to work in Andersonstown while still keeping their TUPE protections. We are calling on all councillors to endorse that outcome which is at the centre of tomorrow’s motion.

“Now unfortunately we are facing yet another attack on the workforce by GLL management. A further 49 workers who have TUPE-protected contracts have been threatened by management that they will have to accept GLL contracts and lower pay as their positions ‘no longer exist’. While we recognise that council investment means some jobs have changed somewhat there is no justification for what is a transparent attempt to undermine the pay and T&Cs of our members. As well as addressing the situation of Andersonstown Road workers, Belfast City Councillors must address this jobs threat before it brings about an unnecessary industrial dispute across the city”, Mr Keenan said.

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