STAFF at five leisure centres in Croydon have – for the second time – voted to strike in a row over pay. Lifeguards, fitness instructors and receptionists working for Fusion Lifestyle, which runs the centres for the council, initially voted in favour of a walkout on April 30, but it was called off when the company challenged the result. The result of the new ballot was announced this afternoon (Friday) and 94 per cent of those who responded agreed to strike. Unite has yet to decide on a date for the strike, which will include staff at Waddon, Purley, Thornton Heath, New Addington and South Norwood leisure centres. Fusion, which has been informed of the result, has previously said strike action would not lead to closures or disruption. Onay Kasab, Unite's regional officer, said the ballot "more than vindicated" the union's position. He said: "We have now balloted twice and, on both occasions, received a large majority yes vote for strike action. "The points in dispute – the pay system and levels of pay – now urgently need to be addressed by Fusion if they are to avoid a walkout. "What this case has highlighted is the appalling pay, terms and conditions faced by leisure workers in general. "It's time for dignity, respect and fairness for leisure workers." Earlier this week Mr Kasab said the union could strike on two or three consecutive days. "The company shouldn't be looking at this like it will be a day of action, they can weather the storm and the union will go away," he said. "We will be looking at how many days of action we need to take in order to get what we're demanding from the company." The strike follows a dispute over pay, including accusations that Fusion has not passed on increased funding to staff, who have already rejected one pay offer. Speaking before the result, a council spokesman said: "Fusion's management are continuing to talk with staff on this matter. "In the meantime they have assured the council the centres will remain open largely as normal regardless of the outcome of the ballot, thanks to contingency plans which they already have in place." Fusion has yet to comment.
More Pages to Explore .....