The decision by Lewisham council to extend the contract of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to run the authorities leisure services has been condemned by Unite, the UK’s leading union.


Closed meeting


The decision to extend the GLL contract was taken at a meeting of the council that was closed to the public earlier this month.


Prior to the decision being made Unite has raised serious concerns about the long-term financial viability of GLL and its employment practices.


Financial concerns


GLL, which is officially a social enterprise, is currently refusing to disclose its financial position to Unite or reveals how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the organisation.


However, the company has told staff that its financial position has been severely hit due to the pandemic and is now in the process of making redundancies.


Unite has previously raised concerns about GLL’s reliance on employing staff on zero hours contracts and the fact the ‘social enterprise’ does not recognise unions.


Lewisham council failure


Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Lewisham council had the opportunity to do the right thing and it failed.


“Lewisham councillors stood for election two years ago on a promise to fight zero hours contracts and work with unions.  They have failed on these promises.


“Lewisham claim it did not have the time to prepare an insourced bid but it was the body with responsibility for setting the timetable for the decision.


“Lewisham has also suggested that it does not have the resources to insource its leisure services so why did it commit to being an insourcing council?


“Such a significant decision should never have been made at a closed meeting.


“Lewisham council failed to do the right thing initially.  It now needs to put this right by coming clean and calling in the decision for reconsideration.”


Recruitment campaign 


Unite is currently running a campaign to recruit leisure service workers to join the union. The workers are frequently low paid and on precarious contracts.




Notes to editors:


Lewisham council urged to in-source leisure centres to improve services and protect jobs


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.


Email: barckley.s[email protected]


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.