Hollingbury and Waterhall Golf Club dispute continues

Staff taking strike action at Hollingbury and Waterhall golf club

Staff taking strike action at Hollingbury and Waterhall golf club

Green keepers at Hollingbury and Waterhall golf club last week took five days of industrial action after their employer Mytime Actives refused to accept the union’s proposal to go to binding arbitration. The employer wants to cut the greenkeepers’ salaries by up to £5,000.

UNISON branch secretary Alex Knutsen reported that the action had won massive public support and that golfers had stayed away to show their support for the green keepers.

UNISON and GMB members took a further 5 days of strike action from Monday 19th August to Friday 23rd August inclusive, in their fight against their employer’s (Mytimeactive) decision, to cut their salaries by up to £5,000 per annum.

The company invited UNISON and GMB representatives to last minute talks on 16 August. It was hoped there would be enough progress to postpone action and to finalise a compromise settlement. The talks, after three weeks of virtual silence on the part of the company, also included an officer from ACAS, the conciliation service.

Mr Knutsen reported that during four hours of discussion the company made three offers, the first two were worse than one made three weeks ago, and the third, about the same as the original offer. It was the trade unions’ impression that the company is at “sixes and sevens” over this issue – and that they simply do not know how to conduct negotiations.

The seven affected staff are asking for Mytime Active to honour the terms and conditions that transferred under TUPE (legislation that protects the pay of employees who move from one company to another) three years ago, when the service was privatised.

Part of these ensure that changes to salary carry a three year protection, so enabling staff to prepare for a reduction in pay. This is a widely used protection in both public and private sectors.

The two trade unions also offered to go to binding arbitration, through ACAS – this was turned down by the company, to our disappointment, as the dispute could have been suspended, if they had agreed.

Mr Knutsen reports that the staff, all of whom have worked loyally on the golf courses for many years, now have no choice but to fight on. For UNISON and the GMB, this may only affect seven members, but the issues involved are of key importance, and both unions are committed to reaching a fair settlement.

Mr Knutsen said: “Mytime is a so-called ‘social enterprise’, that one might expect to treat their customers and staff in a fair and reasonable manner. While both unions understand they are losing money on the running of the two local golf courses, and we are prepared to talk about that problem, overall they are a cash rich organisation with millions of pounds in the bank.

“Our seven members are ordinary low-paid workers, loyal to the users of the courses, who cannot afford a 20% pay cut.

“We all want a fair solution to this dispute, and to achieve that Mytime has to compromise – at present this appears to be beyond them.”


For further information, please contact Alex Knutsen on 07961025930