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From: The Socialist issue 826, 24 September 2014: We need 10 an hour now!

Search site for keywords: London - Croydon - Strike - Leisure - Unite - Pay - Southwark

Croydon leisure centre strike for decent wages

Striking Croydon leisure centre workers share solidarity with council workers and the public

Striking Croydon leisure centre workers share solidarity with council workers and the public   (Click to enlarge)

Unite members working at five leisure centres in Croydon, south London, took strike action on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 September against pay cuts by their private sector employer Fusion Leisure.

The action by 48 recreation assistants, and fitness and swimming instructors follows a 24-hour strike on 10 July.

On Friday, the workers supplied council office staff with coffee, cereal bars and Unite 'freebies' as they went into work at the council offices.

The demo highlighted poor pay in the leisure industry, while supporting the national local government pay campaign for a 1 an hour pay rise.

Unite will also be organising protests at Fusion's sites in nearby borough Southwark.

Fusion is saving money by employing a 'multi-tier' workforce. Workers doing exactly the same job are paid at varying rates and have different basic terms and conditions. But when Croydon borough council awarded the contract in 2007 to Fusion Leisure it was on the basis of a single-tier workforce.

The strike is part of a wider campaign by Unite to organise workers in the contracted-out leisure industry across the capital.

Unite members at Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) are also now being balloted for strike action. GLL runs leisure centres across London and uses zero-hour contracts for two-thirds of its staff. The company claims to be a 'social enterprise'!

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: "We have had a fantastic response from workers at GLL. Workers told us about their zero-hour contract experiences and lack of pay. GLL withdrew the email facility from the rep who put the information out - another indication that this so called 'social enterprise' is just like any other employer.

"The organisations that promote and support social enterprises claim they are a better alternative to straight profit making companies - but in employment terms, they are just as bad."







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