12:10pm Sunday 24th February 2013
By Bill Gardner
Angry greenkeepers at golf courses have threatened to go on strike over proposed job cuts.
Last week social enterprise company Mytimeactive put forward a proposal to slash pay and lay off staff at the Hollingbury and Waterhall courses in Brighton.
Eight workers face losing a total of £50,000 between them through compulsory redundancies, pay cuts and reduced allowances.
Unions say they will fight the cuts and would ballot for strike action if Mytimeactive refused to back down.
According to company documents the social enterprise has made substantial losses since signing a ten-year contract with Brighton and Hove City Council to manage the courses in 2009.
Mark Turner, the GMB branch secretary, said: “If we do not get the result we want then we could see our members going on strike.
“The GMB and UNISON will not stand by and see our members, privatised by Brighton and Hove City Council and now working for a company which behaves in such a cavalier fashion, have their wages slashed along with compulsory redundancies.
“This could happen within weeks – but the ball is ultimately in their court.”
In a bid to stem the huge losses Mytimeactive has proposed two final options for staff to choose between.
One offer is to lose three out of the eight staff, while the other is to lose one head greenkeeper with the rest of the workers losing their terms and conditions.
A spokesman for Mytimeactive said: “As part of this review it became clear that there was a need to consider staffing costs at both sites.
"Comparative sites have a similar staffing structure that operates well and has contributed to the overall success of that particular operation and in no way affects the quality of golf provision.
“We understand how frustrating and difficult this situation must be.
"We are working hard to ensure that we minimise the risk of potential redundancies and have invited the views of both the unions and our green keepers.”
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