Staff health & safety concerns at Ballysillan swimming pool ignored by outsourced management company Greenwich Leisure Limited

img_0227Failure to properly chlorinate pool since Saturday leaves pool attendants unable to see bottom of pool and ‘fishy’ odour

Cost-cutting decision to scrap ‘plant operator’ positions at all leisure centres leaves GLL managers manually rechlorinating pools

September 11th: Michael Keenan, Regional Officer for Unite, blasted Belfast City Council’s decision to outsource management of its leisure centres to a management company, Greenwich Leisure Limited, for a series of health and safety breaches most recently that today at the swimming pool in Ballysillan leisure centre.

“Unite has repeatedly warned about the consequences of outsourcing management of leisure facilities by Belfast City Council. The situation today in Ballysillan is only the latest in a long line of concerning incidents.

“As part of the cost-savings that Greenwich Leisure Limited have been asked to deliver by Belfast City council, bosses have done away with the role of plant operator – there used to be one in every leisure centre. These people received formal and extended training to perform the task of safely managing plant and equipment including that related to water safety. Under the new system, we have the situation where staff who perform other functions, usually at management level, are expected to perform these tasks with only two days training.

“The consequences have been a series of health & safety breaches which our union has highlighted in the media. Swimming pools and Jacuzzis need to be chlorinated or brominated at least daily to maintain the safety of users. Today employees in Ballysillan have reported concerns to us that due to the failure to chlorinate the pool there since Saturday, they were unable to see the bottom of the pool – which is vital for the safety of pool users. One worker said that the strong ‘fishy’ smell at the pool was so strong it was like being at the seaside in Donaghadee.

“Staff are concerned that they could not be sure to see a swimmer who has gone under the water which is a clear breach of health and safety. When they cordoned off the pool due to those concerns, GLL bosses stepped in and physically removed the barriers. Management have now started to manually chlorinate by pouring chemicals directly into the water because they are unconfident of using the chlorination plant. There are clear health & safety breach with this approach as there’s no way to be confident that the chemical is properly distributed through the pool and management did not even close the pool off to the public while they did this. Unite has reported these breaches to the Health & Safety Executive of Northern Ireland.

“Yet again, we see an example of how the decision to outsource by Belfast City Council has led to a chronic downgrading of health & safety for members of the public using the municipal leisure facilities”, Mr Keenan said.

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3 Responses to Staff health & safety concerns at Ballysillan swimming pool ignored by outsourced management company Greenwich Leisure Limited

  1. Mrs Julie Walsh says:

    My daughter won’t be back to swimming lessons until this matter is sorted for weeks there wasn’t even any running water at the taps beside the showeres and the smell was disgusting

  2. Sharon Officer says:

    This is a disgrace!! Bad enough that all the good staff who have been there years were made redundant and new clueless ones put in their place! Until I am guaranteed that this issue with the pool is sorted and confirmed that the water is clean and safe for use my children will not be back to lessons and my direct debit cancelled with the first payment refunded in full.

  3. Grace coates says:

    Absolutely disgraceful I was swimming with my daughter this afternoon Tuesday 11.9.18 and I am pregnant. My daughter also haf swimming lessons in the pool this afternoon and while there i seen many othet children having lessons. We all should have been stopped going into the pool if it wasn’t properly cleaned. If me or my baby get sick I will hold this company in full responsibility

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