Ballots and Bail Outs at Sandwell Leisure Trust

Options for councils in supporting leisure providers through COVID-19 WEB[5194]

With leisure centres being shut down due to the pandemic, Sandwell Leisure Trust faces a financial crisis. Leisure Trusts up and down the country all face a complete shut down of income. In response, the Local Government Association (LGA is an employers body) has written to all Councils, pointing out their responsibilities. The paper is attached.

The options given to Council’s is summarised succinctly in the following quote from it.

When a leisure operator running services on behalf of a council begin to fail, the council faces a difficult choice. It can either allow the operator to fail, potentially bringing any facilities owned by the council back in-house as a means of keeping them open, or it can choose to support the operator.  Either approach is likely to involve significant costs to the council.’

It is deeply disappointing that at this time of crisis SLT have proposed to implement a pay freeze for two years when staff have already suffered financially due to being furloughed.

It is deeply disturbing that they also propose to withdraw from the NJC – our national negotiating body for pay, terms and conditions. This can only signify future attacks on terms and conditions.

UNISON members, alongside our sister trade unions, are currently voting in a consultative ballot to reject the proposal and indicate whether union members wish to procede to a formal industrial action ballot if SLT continue with these proposals.

SLT are not even passing on the 1% annual uplift funded by Sandwell MBC. Foregoing the national 2.75% pay offer this year will not make up the shortfall of income suffered by SLT due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNISON urges all members to reject the proposal and vote for a formal industrial action ballot.

If you work for SLT and are not in a trade union we urge you to join today. The bigger we are, the stronger you are.


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