23/06/2017

Call For Council To End Contract With GLL

Unite the union is calling on Belfast City Council to cease its contract with Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) after leaked plans revealed there may be further cuts to staff.

The future of leisure centres in Shankill, Loughside and Whiterock are believed to be all under the radar.

GLL in London signed a contract to manage the leisure centres in 2014.

Unite Regional Officer, Michael Keenan, called on the Council to bring back all leisure centres into municipal management.

He said: "Leaked plans by outsourced management company GLL which are being disclosed by Unite in the public interest show that they are not happy with 'savings' from staff cuts, a two-tier workforce and closure of services but are now considering the outright closure of a number of leisure centres across the city.
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"The document confirms discussions between GLL and Belfast City Council officials are ongoing for a community-asset transfer of Whiterock Leisure centre to unspecified community groups. Unite is hugely concerned that this has been advanced with little to no community engagement or dialogue. Across the UK such community-asset transfers have left community groups struggling with inadequate funding to sustain amenities and left to 'carry the can' when they inevitably close – when the real blame should fall at the feet of the public authorities themselves.

"The plans also detail more advanced discussions between GLL and Belfast City Council officials on the closure of Loughside although again there has been no consultation with the local community in the Shore Road area. The document admits that the closure would be 'extremely political' and recommends a strategy of exploring 'opportunities' for reducing opening hours in the interim.

"There is clearly a hidden agenda to close leisure facilities and amenities in Belfast – all in order to deliver on the Council's austerity budget. The interests of users, the local communities and the staff appear nowhere in such Machiavellian machinations."

(CD/LM)


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