Funding is provided by council to meet wage supports needed by Government’s job support scheme guaranteeing workers’ income to end of current tax year
As a result of other decisions taken at tonight’s council meeting, Unite will demand Greenwich Leisure Ltd provides all workers employed at leisure centres the same voluntary redundancy terms as council staff
Kieran Ellison, Unite Regional Officer welcomed the decision of Belfast City Council that means 140 workers at the Waterfront and Ulster Halls will now avoid being laid-off.
“Tonight’s u-turn by Belfast City Council will come as welcome news to our members in the Waterfront and Ulster Hall. It reverses a decision which left 140 workers, currently employed on a casual basis by a council-owned, arms-length company, facing the immediate prospect of lay-off with little to no redundancy whatsoever.
“The discussion in the chamber at Belfast City Hall saw the decision, which was not authorised by any appropriate body of democratically-accountable representatives but an unelected Directors’ Board, branded as ‘shambolic’ by councillors.
“Like the leisure centres before them, these workers and these facilities should never should have been outsourced in the first place. Tonight’s decision commits the council to provide match funding to enable all 140 workers to continue being paid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for this month and then under the job support scheme to the end of the current tax year [next March].
“Unite, who represents these workers, escalated their case to the council leadership who we argued could not wash their hands of their responsibility for these workers, many of whom have worked years for the council before the transfer.
“Tonight’s decision provides a lifeline and offers some assurance for the future. It will also guarantee retention of the vital skills and experience of those who oversee the successful operation of two of Northern Ireland’s premier venues. By voting to retain these workers, councillors have effectively voted for a future of the Waterfront and Ulster Halls.
“In recent days Unite has also actively raised issues regarding outsourced management company, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). We are now calling for GLL to follow-through on tonight’s meeting and clarify that all workers will receive the same payment terms in their voluntary redundancy process as council employees. Anything less is completely unacceptable”, Mr Ellison said.