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Council Confirms Anticipated Impact of Leisure Related Industrial Strike Action in Mid Ulster

Mid Ulster District Council leisure services, specifically swimming pools, fitness suites, public group swimming lessons and public group exercise classes in Cookstown Leisure Centre and Greenvale Leisure Centre Magherafelt, will be impacted by industrial strike action by UNITE the Union, starting next week from 00:01 Monday 22 January. 

The localised industrial action decided upon by members of UNITE the Union within the staff categories of Fitness Instructor, Swim Teacher, Leisure Attendant, Senior Fitness Instructor and Gym Instructor will take place on a “continuous” basis with no current fixed end date given, and will largely affect the publics’ ability to access swimming pools, fitness suites and to receive swimming lessons and group exercise classes in our two leisure centres in Cookstown and Greenvale Magherafelt.  

The strike comes shortly after the award of a significantly enhanced pay offer implemented in September of last year, which resulted in a 20% increase in the hourly rate of pay for delivering a public swim lesson or public group exercise class (from £15 per hour to £18 per hour) and a further 5.5% increase in pay from December of last year (to £19 per hour).  This is in addition to any contractual pay enhancements due.  There was also a commitment by Management to further increase this rate on a yearly basis in line with any agreed national pay award.  

Under this agreement and prior to the ballot for the planned strike this month, affected staff were promptly paid their financial arrears during October/November 2023 with backdated pay to reflect the increased rates for the period 1st April 2022 – 3 September 2023. 

While the Council will endeavour to provide safe supervision levels for public access to its pools, make available access to its fitness suites and to deliver scheduled swim lessons and group exercise classes, this will ultimately depend on the availability of staff on any given day.  The likelihood however, is that regrettably that these facilities and services may be impacted.

The availability of these facilities and activities will be reviewed on a daily basis and we will update our customers each day on the centres’ social media channels.  

The Council anticipates that all other services and facilities other than those mentioned above will operate as normal. 

The Council wishes to apologise to its residents for the regrettable and unavoidable impact on services as a result of the industrial strike action taken by UNITE the Union. 

Council remains committed to engaging with the Trade Union side in a spirit of co-operation and good faith to resolve this dispute. 

Further updates on service impacts as the industrial action progresses can be found via the Council’s social media channels.