Lifeguards at Blackburn and Darwen leisure centres will take part in strike action on Saturday 11 January over Blackburn and Darwen borough council’s decision to cut their wages by up to £3,000 a year Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Friday 10 January).

The dispute centres on a new structure which will see 14 lifeguards remain in employment but on a lower grade than their present role. The new structure comes after some of the roles were re-evaluated under the council’s job evaluation scheme. 

Pay slashed

These changes have reduced lifeguards pay by up to £3,000 per year.

The lifeguard members, who are responsible for the safety of people in the swimming pools, at Blackburn Sports and Leisure Centre and Darwen Leisure Centre will take part in in discontinuous strike action consisting of a series of 24 hour stoppages commencing at 00:01 hours on 11, 14, 18, 21, 25 and 28 January 2020.

Harsh reality

Unite regional officer Tanya Sweeney said: “The reality is that some of our members are being asked to work for less pay.  £3,000 a year is a lot of money.

“This is a group of workers who do an incredible job of keeping people safe.

“The life guard role was evaluated 10 years ago and the job has not changed, so cutting pay at this stage is unfair and unjust.

“The feeling about this is strong. We are hoping to negotiate a suitable resolution which will limit the financial impact on the staff.  The strike action will affect Blackburn and Darwen leisure centres – which will lead to pools being closed.

“Unite is calling for a ‘fair and realistic’ compensation deal for its members.”


For more information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Tanya Sweeney on 07768 937137.

Notes to editors

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