Edinburgh Leisure Pay Update

We recently wrote to Edinburgh Leisure members regarding the outcome of our pay consultation. Following discussions with EL management an interim arrangement was agreed whereby the 4% increase was applied. This was communicated to all staff by June Peebles, Chief Executive, earlier this month and was only agreed to enable Edinburgh Leisure to meet their statutory obligation to pay the National Living Wage.

We have since met with your employer to reiterate our position that the REAL LIVING WAGE must be paid as an absolute minimum and that overall, a 4% increase is not enough given current living costs. Edinburgh Leisure on the other hand have reiterated their position in that there is simply no further money available, the organization has a £736,000 deficit budget for this year and referred back to the % increase last year and this year’s offer equates to an uplift of 10% over 2 years.

So where does this leave us?

UNISON has written to Council Leaders and members of the Edinburgh Leisure Board. This communication is outlined here:

“I am writing to you as an elected councillor on the board of Edinburgh Leisure (EL), on behalf of UNISON members providing leisure services in our city.

UNISON is the recognised trade union within Edinburgh Leisure and members have recently rejected a pay offer of 4%. Further to this, Edinburgh Leisure is no longer a Scottish real living wage employer. 

This year we understand that the council has given EL an additional £2m to help with the financial challenges that has continued to be a challenge for the organisation as recovery from the pandemic continues. 

We understand that EL has implemented a 10% price increase this year across venues and services. However, the reality is that EL still faces a budget deficit of more than £730k.

We are asking for your urgent intervention with regards to Edinburgh Leisure in not paying the real Scottish living wage rate of £10.90 per hour. This is the minimum rate paid to CEC workers, and EL workers deliver high quality public services too.

If Edinburgh Leisure is an organisation that is committed to keeping everyone well, by creating opportunities for everyone to get active and achieve more, then the self-described, Biggest Club in Town, should be paying staff the real Scottish living wages as a minimum, fulfilling the Scottish Governments fair work framework. For staff, security of income is an important foundation to a successful life.

No employee should be paid less than the minimum rate necessary for workers and their families to avoid struggling to meet their most basic needs.

Edinburgh Leisure must support their hardworking staff through the cost-of-living crisis, helping them to pay energy bills and put food on the table.

Failure to do this will see the Biggest Club in Town struggle to recruit and retain the very people they need to keep delivering positive health outcomes for the people of Edinburgh.

If you value the work of Edinburgh Leisure and the staff that deliver the services, please lend your support, and use your influence as an elected official to lobby for increased funding to help plug the budget gap.

This year Edinburgh Leisure is celebrating its 25th year – but given the current situation, staff have no reason to party.

We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to consider this matter further.

To date, we have received no response.

We will be visiting venues in the coming weeks to speak with our members. These dates/times will be notified to you. We would like to explore your thoughts on what you think our priorities should be in terms of your pay, your grading structure/increments and whether you think there is anything else you would like for us to explore with your employer. We would also like to explore ways with you in how we can place pressure on the council to provide extra funding to Edinburgh Leisure to enable them to pay a decent wage.