Pay workers stood down during lockdown

July 1, 2021
Photo: Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre / Facebook

Workers at the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre in Marrickville and Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre in Petersham have been stood down without pay for two weeks during lockdown.

They were stood down without any warning by Belgravia Leisure, the private company that manages the pools on behalf of the Inner West Council.

Belgravia boasts hundreds of millions of dollars in profits every year. CEO Geoff Lord is now one of Australia’s richest 200 people, according to the Australian Financial Review rich list.

It is shameful that Belgravia Leisure thinks it is okay to stand workers down. Most do not have savings, and there are no federal or state subsidies for such workers. Funds are being made available to businesses however.

Workers should not be made to pay for the lockdown.

When workers approached management to ask for pandemic payments, they were told to access their annual leave. They have only received a generic email offering “counseling”.

The United Workers Union launched a petition demanding that all employees, casual and permanent, be given full pay for regular hours worked for the whole lockdown. This should be supported.

It is critical that the Inner West Council does what it can to support this largely young work force until this happens.

The sooner the council-owned pools directly employ their workers, the better pay and condition they are likely to receive. Staff at council-run pools in the inner west confirm this.

Thanks to community pressure, the two pools will be returned to council management in July 2022.

Inner West and other councils should end the contracting of any community services to the profit-driven private sector.

[Pip Hinman is running in the Inner West Council elections in the Damun ward for Socialist Alliance.]

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