Glasgow Council Workers vote for industrial action ballot

Members of Unite the union and Unison voted overwhelmingly to support a ballot on industrial action at the arms-length body, Glasgow Life.

Unite members voted by 94 per cent in a consultative, while Unison members voted by 87 per cent. The consultative ballots by both unions covers seven Glasgow Life leisure centres those being the Emirates Arena, Gorbals, Springburn, Tollcross, Bellahouston, Kelvin Hall, and Scotstoun.

Unite and Unison pointed to a number of "failings" by Glasgow Life, including "a lack of due diligence towards the welfare of staff, and a failure to consult with staff through elected safety representatives on changes to working patterns." The unions say that imposed changes to the working practices has resulted in "inadequate staffing levels to ensure fire safety and staffing of buildings due to increased working hours."

Additionally, Unite has confirmed that it has reported Glasgow Life to the Scottish Charity Regulator for a second time on the basis of these health and safety implications to the public.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite's regional industrial officer, said that:“The lack of engagement by Glasgow Life illustrates an extremely irresponsible attitude towards staff and public safety. The body is refusing to engage in proper consultation as required by legislation. However, this incident is just the latest failure by Glasgow Life's board of trustees to show good governance. The overwhelmingly support to move towards a ballot for industrial action is a reflection of the anger our members feel at how they have been treated.”

'Work related stress is becoming a serious problem within Glasgow Life. We are now in a situation where there is no oversight or control being exercised by the trustees. This has led to the current breakdown in employment relations. Unite believes that there is a strong case for a full review of the status of Glasgow Life and for the return of the body to full local authority control.”

Christopher Robertson, UNISON Glasgow Life Convenor, added: “Glasgow Life continues to operate and manage staff out with the safe guidance and conditions enjoyed by other council employees, this has been very evident in this so called charitable status employer’s handling of industrial relations. UNISON will resist such an approach. UNISON knows how important these services are to this city so we must protect them and the staff who work so hard to provide them.”

A spokesman for Glasgow Life told The Red Robin: “We have been engaged in discussion and consultation with the Trade Unions over minor changes to morning opening hours at seven Glasgow Sport venues since the beginning of the year. To be clear, these changes have not negatively affected the health or safety of either the public or our staff in these centres and none of our staff have been asked to extend their contracted hours to cover these changes, which are in direct response to feedback from our customers about how we can improve access to Glasgow Club facilities."

“We encouraged staff to raise any individual concerns with their line managers and before any changes were implemented we worked with those staff to resolve their specific issues. We will continue to engage positively with our staff and Trade Unions on any proposals or decisions that would substantially impact Glasgow Sport employees or their workplace."

“Glasgow Life is committed to engaging with its staff and trade unions to deliver the highest levels of staff welfare and morale. Our pay levels, pensions and general terms and conditions are significantly better than equivalents across the leisure industry. However, we also have an obligation to remove barriers to people getting involved in sport and physical activity and deliver a popular, viable and sustainable service which has a long-term future.”

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