Swanley Olympic View from Outside

GMB Open Letter to Julie Pilbeam & STC Councillors

GMB Southern Region brand

25th November 2016

Dear Julie,

Consultation Response · The Olympic Bar and Restaurant

I am writing to you on behalf of the GMB union in response to the consultation document you sent out on 10th November with proposals to close the bar and restaurant at The Olympic. The GMB would like to give the following response.

  1. As previously stated it is not good enough to send a Trade Union one day’s notice of a meeting where its members are at risk of redundancy. The proposals you outlined result in the loss of 9 posts and the union should be given reasonable time to make sure that somebody can attend a meeting to represent its member’s interests.
  2. The information provided is neither adequate to allow you to consult meaningfully with the union or the staff affected. For us to be in a position to realistically 1either makes suggestions to mitigate the effects of redundancy or suggest alternative proposals we would require the correct financial information leading to this decision and the proposals that the Council considered when making this decision. As Swanley Town Council is a public body spending residents’ taxes there is also a public right to know why The Olympic is closing some of its facilities available to the community.
  3. The GMB have both privately and publically asked you 11 questions to try and get the information both the union and the staff would require to respond to you with alternative suggestions. I wrote to you on 11th November regarding this and your response was insufficient and inadequate. In particular, we are still none the wiser as to the financial position of The Olympic or the proposals that the Council considered to keep the bar and restaurant open. Your response seems to be predicated on the fact that under Section 188(4) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidated) Act 1992 that you had to provide the ‘reason for the redundancy’ to us. To be clear the reason that the Olympic is ‘not covering operating costs’ is insufficient and does not allow us to engage positively with you in being able to offer a proper response.
  4. During the consultation process the GMB has learnt that you have dismissed a Venue Assistant who was on probation without giving any proper reason for the dismissal and before the consultation period ended. Indeed you made it very clear at the consultation meeting on 11th November that staff were entitled to apply for the remaining jobs in The Olympic. You have therefore cruelly dismissed someone who was entitled to apply for that position and was allowed to attend the meeting to be told they could apply. Your complete disregard for staffs’ feelings during this difficult process makes it seem clear to us to that you are uncaring and quite frankly vindictive.
  5. Following your failure to answer any of our questions properly you then posted a status on the Official  Swanley Town Council Facebook page the following week completely misrepresenting what the GMB have said. It is clear from our press release that we quoted your own consultation document where you have said that it was the bar and restaurant closing I tried to correct your status and ask why our questions continue to be unanswered. You then deleted my posts and blocked me from posting. Why are you so terrified of the people of Swanley knowing what has really happened here?

In light of the above deficiencies we are requesting that the consultation period is extended to allow you to send us the information we have requested from you repeatedly since the start of the consultation both privately and publically. Without this information there is no reasonable way that either the union or the staff it represents can provide any comments on any alternatives to redundancy because you have willfully failed to provide us with the potential options that were on the table. You have not provided any financial information showing that The Olympic is failing to meet its costs and therefore we do not at this moment in time accept there is any basis to close the functions at The Olympic. If you are unwilling to agree to this reasonable request then the union will lodge an immediate failure to agree with you and advise its members accordingly.

Please note that we are sending this response to all Swanley ‘s elected Councillors as we feel it is important to make them aware that you continue to disregard the law regarding redundancies and of your abject failure to consult fully and meaningfully. I hope they may be able to get some answers out of you regarding this.

Yours sincerely

Nick Day

Nick Day
GMB Regional Officer – Swanley


One thought on “GMB Open Letter to Julie Pilbeam & STC Councillors

  1. I had hoped that there would be an update from the Labour Party and particularly those members on the council however there never has been and I have just read the press release regarding the details about the Olympic from the town council website. At least the new town clerk is updating the public!


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