A BALLOT of staff at five leisure centres in Croydon is due to close this week with a union boss "fully expecting" them to vote for strike action. Lifeguards, fitness instructors and receptionists at the centres Fusion Lifetyle runs for the council agreed to strike in April in a row over pay, but Unite restarted the process when the company claimed proper procedure had not been followed. Unite re-balloted 58 of its members on June 2 and the poll is due to close on Friday (June 13). A yes vote could mean disruption at leisure centres in Thornton Heath, South Norwood, Purley, New Addington and Waddon, though Fusion previously insisted they would operate as normal. Onay Kasab, Unite's regional officer told the Advertiser: "If we get the yes vote, which we fully expect, we will issue notice of strike action". The proposed walkout surrounds a dispute over pay, including claims that Fusion has failed to pass on increased council funding to staff, some of whom have not had a pay rise in five years. A pay offer has been rejected. Mr Kasab said Fusion's actions have prompted the union to begin a wider campaign to support leisure workers across London. "This is because we have found [the industry] to be an area where workers are generally treated very poorly," he said. "Issues include zero hour contracts, bullying and very poor pay levels. "So Fusion have sparked a far wider campaign."
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