Sandwell Leisure Trust confirms settlement of 20 month industrial action

Sandwell Leisure Trust has confirmed it has settled the 20 month dispute which saw employees regularly go out on strike.

Striking Sandwell Leisure Trust workers
Striking Sandwell Leisure Trust workers

Employees who had been "fired and rehired" regularly forced the closure of leisure facilities including The Portway Centre as they demanded to be returned to national terms and conditions.

Sandwell Leisure Trust, UNISON and the GMB came to deal to settle the dispute.

A spokesperson for Sandwell Leisure Trust said: "SLT and Sandwell Council have had very useful and productive transition discussions and we have now jointly agreed a positive way forward.

"The SLT Board has agreed to return staff back to National Joint Council status, as the board never proposed to change any other employee terms and conditions and the move back to the NJC will also ensure the best security for staff in any future Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) process from SLT.

"Both SLT and the Council jointly believe that this agreed mutual position is the very best way to safeguard and protect employee terms and conditions and ensure a seamless transition of services for Sandwell.

"We wish to thank and recognise all SLT employees for their continued support and hard work and we hope this update assures our staff how SLT and the Council are working together in order to secure the best possible future for all concerned, our customers and the service."

Sandwell UNISON branch secretary Tony Barnsley welcomed the return to national terms and conditions for employees.

He said: “This decision is great news for all the staff working at Sandwell Leisure Trust. It is the culmination of the hard work and dedication by UNISON at a branch and regional level.”

Mr Barnsley added: “We combined an industrial strategy with a political strategy from day one to win. This helped give UNISON members the confidence to keep fighting for 20 long months.

“Congratulations to them and all that took part in the strike action on 10 May, including the other unions.”

UNISON regional organiser Louise Dalton believes decision safeguards and protects employee terms, conditions and pay moving forward.

"We also need to thank those in the wider Labour movement who gave solidarity through donations, by leafletting councillors or visiting picket lines. It all helped and was greatly appreciated,” she said."

She added: "The support from Labour councillors was also welcome in helping settle the dispute."

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