Complaints about leisure centre staff wearing GAA tops instead of council uniform

Leisure services staff at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council are to be reminded of the need to maintain the council’s dress code while working at the local authority’s leisure facilities.

By Adam Morton, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:32 am

The issue was brought to the fore at Council’s monthly meeting on Monday, April 25 by Councillor Margaret Tinsley who told the chamber she is fed up getting phone calls from concerned constituents about staff at the South Lake Leisure Centre wearing GAA tops instead of their council-branded uniform.

“I have raised this on numerous occasions and I don’t know what it is going to take to get it sorted out,” said the DUP councillor.

“I was at the South Lake Leisure Centre on Saturday and to be fair I only saw one member of staff with a GAA top on but I am sick of my phone ringing being told that staff at this facility are wearing GAA tops.

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South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon

“That is totally unacceptable. I know when it is raised by HR they do something about it but we do not seem to be getting a grip on this. On Saturday afternoon I saw a member of staff wearing a GAA top, not shorts, a top and they were in the pool.

“Could I ask HR, or whoever is responsible, to get a grip on this. I am fed up getting phone calls about it and I know I am not the only one getting it.

“The same stands for any other football tops but I am not getting complaints about that, the complaints I receive concern the wearing of GAA tops.”

Her party’s group leader, Councillor Mark Baxter said he has been raising this issue since the leisure centre opened and told the chamber such flagrant disregard of a uniform policy would not be tolerated in the private sector.

“In terms of the uniform in the leisure centre it is a very important thing,” said Cllr Baxter.

“It has been raised before on several occasions, I remember raising it when the SLLC opened.

“It is not about GAA tops specifically, I am talking about anything that is not Council’s uniform. I would like to think we have a uniform policy in the leisure centre.

“My concern is either the policy is not being enforced or it is being ignored. If this was a private business and staff did not adhere to a uniform policy they would only be given one chance.”

He then called on the council to send an email to all leisure staff advising them to adhere to the policy.

“Is there anyone here tonight that can answer the question, is there a uniform policy, is it being adhered to and is it enforced or is it ignored?” he asked.

“It is something that can be fixed very easily and it would not be hard to stick an email out to staff tonight to say desist immediately. It would not happen in private business under any circumstance and this has been rumbling on now since the leisure centre opened.”

Council’s head of estates and asset management, Jonathan Hayes confirmed there was a policy in place and assured members, leisure staff would be reminded of the need to maintain the appropriate dress code.

“There is a uniform policy and I will personally pick this up with the centre manager tomorrow to ensure that communication goes out to all staff right across leisure to ensure the appropriate dress code is maintained in accordance with the policy,” said Mr Hayes.