Local political parties asked to bring back municipal leisure services into council management and provide all leisure workers a pay uplift
Michael Keenan, Unite Regional Officer confirmed that his union would be balloting its members working for outsourced management company, Greenwich Leisure Limited, across all twelve municipal leisure centres in Belfast
“Unite has brought forward a UK-wide pay claim for all our members working for outsourced management company, Greenwich Leisure Limited, which calls for a six percent pay uplift. Unfortunately this company has failed to revert with anything at all – leaving my union no alternative but to bring forward a ballot on industrial action in Belfast. Unite members working at Bromley libraries are already taking strike action after voting overwhelmingly for industrial action.
“We have notified the company that the ballot will open for workers commencing Friday 26th July and will remain open for fourteen days. Should the workforce vote in support of strike action – it is likely that this will result in the closure of all twelve leisure centres owned by Belfast City Council but outsourced to this management company.
“The workforce has consistently raised objections to the cost-cutting approach of GLL. They are intent on pursuing a strategy to undermine workers’ pay, term and conditions as well as imposing price hikes excluding lower income users. There is now a substantial two-tier workforce with increasing numbers of casual workers coming in on poverty pay rates while those previously employed by Belfast City Council being denied pay uplifts leaving their wages fall ever closer to the legal minimum.
“The community has been left behind as well. Last year Unite called a protest against the price hikes and attacks on workers’ pay and conditions on the peace-line which drew significant cross-community support from both the Shankill and Falls Roads. Working class people are united in their opposition to the council’s austerity-driven policies on leisure services.
“Belfast City Council voted to outsource leisure services to this company – they cannot wash their hands of the consequences of that for either the public or their former employees. We call on all parties to reconsider their positions and bring these public services back in-house and give all the GLL workers a decent pay uplift”, Mr Keenan concluded.