Despite already being fired and rehired to remove them from national NJC pay, terms and conditions – UNISON members at two leisure centres have voted overwhelmingly to continue their fight. On an 83% turnout members voted by 85% for industrial action.
UNISON has already been in official dispute with Sandwell Leisure Trust for over 12 months. This latest ballot makes this dispute the longest in Sandwell’s history. It shows how determined UNISON members are to defend their conditions.
Despite the employer not promising to make any further changes other than to pay until at least March 2022, Management have sent the trade unions proposals to change sick pay terms. Their proposal includes counting any COVID sickness towards targets, triggers and sick pay. Not only is this an immoral move but it means they break their own promise to staff.
This shows why this dispute is important for all staff at Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) and we once again call upon the Labour Council to intervene. Staff running Council leisure centres should not be treated in such a way on their watch. UNISON agrees with Keir Starmer’s description that fire and rehire is a ‘despicable practice’ and shouldn’t be allowed. Particularly when SLT have £3.5million in reserves.
Members will meet to decide what industrial action takes place next.
Picket line outside Portway Lifestyle Centre in August