Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Sackings threat as leisure charity hires private contractor

Date: Wednesday 13 January 2010

 Ex-council leisure centre staff are being threatened with dismissal unless they sign-up to a range of detrimental working conditions, Scotland's public service union, UNISON, said today.

The union - who represent a large majority of the permanent staff of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd. - the trust who run ex-council leisure centres - say they have been told that the company will cease negotiating immediately and issue staff with an ultimatum -sign up to new conditions or face the sack.

UNISON have been negotiating with Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd to try and reach agreement on new working conditions, as part of an attempt to end discriminatory pay by the company. The union has told the company that legal advice they have received makes it clear that the company proposals continue unequal pay systems and are discriminatory. In addition the company wishes to cut back on overtime rates and reduce the number of fixed public holidays.

Mark Ferguson, UNISON Renfrewshire Branch Secretary said "I am disappointed that Renfrewshire Leisure are choosing to ignore the sound legal advice UNISON has received, and want to walk away from negotiation, preferring instead to try to bully their staff into accepting a detrimental and discriminatory package of changes. This has left our members with no option but to consider Industrial action, a decision that is not taken lightly."

"Renfrewshire Leisure have recently contracted a private personnel firm to give them advice, a service which was previously provided by Renfrewshire Council. This and the attempts to bully staff suggests a further attempt is being made to move away from the original concept of a charitable trust and operate public services as a private business. "UNISON has found that this is commonly what happens when public services are hived off to charitable trusts."



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