Support golf course greenkeepers strike 11 June

In recent weeks UNISON and the GMB have been balloting a total of seven members at Hollingbury and Waterhall Golf Courses.
The employer, mytimeactive, describe themselves as a “social enterprise” on their website, and “charitable.” They took on the contract three years ago – according to their own published figures, they have been losing, on average, approximately £500,000, for each of these years. It has been commented that, either, they were very stupid, or they bid on a “loss leader” price, expecting that they would win other more lucrative contracts in the City (they haven’t!).
At the beginning of the year, they produced a cost-cutting plan, and guess who has to “pay” for their “mistakes? OUR MEMBERS, the greenkeeping staff, to the tune of an average annual pay cut of £4,000 in…ALLOWANCES. Where have we heard that one before? This is around a 20% pay cut for each worker.
In addition there are changes to rotas, a reduction of one post, with the work being “shared” between the staff, and all this from a caring social enterprise employer.
Mark Turner and myself attempted to persuade mytimeactive of the error of their ways, but they have refused to budge an inch from their original positions. Our members view was “if we let them do this on this occasion, the company will be back again next year for more”. The company have made it clear that if they “win” in Brighton and Hove, they intend to move on to their contracts in Southampton and Birmingham next.
The greenkeepers will strike for 24 hours on Tuesday 11th June. If the company does not respond immediately by withdrawing their proposed cuts to allowances in their entirety, we will rapidly send further notification of extended strike action.
There will be pickets on 11th June from 6am at both courses, and we are inviting supporters to turn up to provide support in the form of a demonstration at each location – we hope this will be a mass demonstration, of course!
GMB and UNISON are determined that this is a fight we will win – we are not going to have a Council contractor, a so-called “social enterprise”, making our people pay for their mistakes/greed.
Alex Knutsen, Brighton & Hove Local Gov Unison branch secretary.

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