Peter Garland, UNISON Newport City branch secretary
A threat to axe nearly 100 jobs at Newport leisure centres will harm the mental and physical health of Newport residents as they emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown.
That’s the message from public services union, UNISON Cymru Wales, which says up to 97 employees are at risk of redundancy.
Newport Live which runs sports centres, cinema and theatre in the town has triggered the formal 30-day consultation process with unions and said job losses will take effect in January.
UNISON says the scale of job cuts puts future of all leisure services in Newport in jeopardy. It has called upon the council to urgently intervene and guarantee funding to safeguard jobs and ensure service quality is not reduced for local people.
Peter Garland, UNISON Newport branch secretary said,
“We want to emerge from Covid lockdown a stronger, more united community. That’s not going to happen if we don’t have vital public services the town needs.
“Lockdown has stripped leisure services of funds but it would be completely wrong-headed to get rid of hard-working staff at a time when we will need sports centres, cinema and theatre more than ever to keep people healthy and happy.
“UNISON wants to work with Newport Live to secure more funding we need the council to step in without delay to provide the assurance local people will have the access to services they need.
“Losing your job around Christmas will hurt a lot of Newport families and there are unlikely to be many alternative opportunities out there.
“There is so much at risk if these jobs go and we need to work together to save Newport leisure services.”
UNISON recognises the tremendous support Welsh government has provided councils during this pandemic, amounting to an additional half a billion pounds of funding and it is essential councils are able to access and channel some of these resources to support our vital leisure services.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer on 07816 53 83 97