Belfast Telegraph

Belfast leisure centre staff consider strike action over 6% pay claim

Olympia Leisure Centre
Olympia Leisure Centre

Staff at 12 Belfast leisure centres are to consider strike action over a 6% pay claim in a ballot with a trade union claiming the industrial action would force the closure of the centres.

The council-owned facilities are run by management firm Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).

Union Unite says the company has not responded with a counter offer to their bid for a six percent increase in pay claiming the firm is cutting costs while increasing prices for users.

Michael Keenan, Unite regional officer said they had been left with no alternative but to bring forward a ballot on industrial action.

The ballot for workers to consider their options will open on Friday, July 26 for 14 days and involves staff at Ballysillan, Shankill, Whiterock, Falls, Olympia, Grove, Avoniel leisure centres as well as Loughside Recreation Centre, the Ozone Complex, Belvoir Activity Centre, Girdwood Community Hub and Brooke Activity Centre.

"Should the workforce vote in support of strike action – it is likely that this will result in the closure of all 12 leisure centres," Mr Keenan continued.

He added: "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.

A spokesperson for GLL said that the company were seeking a meeting with trade union representatives to "understand the issues they have".

“GLL remains committed to genuine engagement on these matters in the interests of all parties, and to ensure the seamless provision of services across all of our leisure centres," the spokesperson said.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said they were "disappointed" to learn staff were considering strike action.

"Council is committed to working with GLL, its employees and their representatives to ensure the continued provision of leisure services to all our ratepayers across Belfast," the spokesperson said.

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