Date: Wednesday 13 January
Sackings threat as leisure charity hires private contractor
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