Belfast City Councillors and Greenwich Leisure Limited misleading public about health & safety breaches at leisure facilities

img_0227Members of the public told by a councillor that union concerns over failure to chlorinate pools are baseless

Management company GLL misinforms members of the public that allegations are being made by disgruntled former employee

September 13th: Michael Keenan, Regional Officer for Unite, challenged Greenwich Leisure Limited and Belfast City councillors over attempts to dismiss concerns about health and safety raised by members of the public.

“Two days ago, Unite made public the fact that the swimming pool in Ballysillan hadn’t been chlorinated since Saturday and that when concerned staff raised the matter and attempted to cordon off the pool – management intervened to remove the cordon and then proceeded to manually add chlorine to the water without closing off access to the public. Staff concerns were that with the cloudiness of the water poolside it was impossible to see the bottom meaning that they couldn’t do their job properly, and there were concerns for public health as a result of the repulsive smell building up at the pool.

“Members of the public have contacted us since, with reports that GLL management had told them the allegations were baseless and had been raised by a former, disgruntled employee; in other cases, a councillor dismissed the incident claiming that it had been invented by Unite as part of our campaign to have services returned to city council management.

“Not only are all our concerns well-founded, we can confirm that the monitoring data for Ballysillan pools shows that the chlorine levels dropped far below what was safe. We are also aware that chlorine monitoring records at another swimming pool were retrospectively altered after we highlighted a safety breach there. Only a couple of months ago, newspapers uncovered evidence confirming our claim that members of the public using a Jacuzzi were exposed to Legionella due to a failure to brominate regularly before GLL was forced to close the facility – all due to staffing cuts.

“Unite is not in the business of scare-mongering or misreporting on health and safety. When concerns are raised it ill-behoves councillors or management to dismiss them – instead they should investigate what is going on. This incident is only the latest in a long line caused by the approach which has been adopted by GLL in order to deliver promised the ‘operating savings’ promised to the council as part of the outsourcing deal”, Mr Keenan said.

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