Jobs and hours to be cut at Linlithgow leisure facilities

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West Lothian Leisure has stated that it can only safeguard its future if it cuts jobs and hours at facilities such as Xcite and Low Port Centre.

And now a consultation process with employees is underway as a result. This is expected to be concluded in late June as staff at Xcite and Low Port Centre learn their fate.

An earlier ‘mini restructure’ saw a 20 per cent reduction in staff at office/management team level from 24 to 18 but further measures are now on the table across the board.

Robin Strang, chief executive of West Lothian Leisure, said: “With a significant funding gap, we have to initiate a broader review which may include changes to opening hours, a restructure of some services and a reduction in staffing.”

While aiming to achieve financial stability, the leadership team has made a commitment to staff to minimise the impact as far as possible. This will involve looking at opening hours that better reflect usage of facilities as a preference to closures – and possibly redeploying jobs.

Mr Strang admitted that this also extended to offering voluntary redundancy packages or early retirement as a consultation process gets underway.

He added: “These circumstances are not unique, nor could they have been avoided through any action we could have taken.Quite simply, change is absolutely necessary to address funding cuts and help us to operate within this new climate.”

However, Steven Dunn of UNISON West Lothian branch, said: “These play a vital role in our local communities. They help people of various ages and circumstances and provide them with routes to mental and physical wellbeing. Trust staff help people engage and be involved, whether that is having a health check, going for a swim, taking a walk, joining a gym or providing outdoor leisure services.

“Low Port is a vital service to West Lothian as it has an imaginative approach to education and a track record of helping children in difficult circumstances. The centre and its staff offer opportunities in outdoor education and encourage individuals to enjoy the outdoors more often.”

His colleague Greig Kelbie added: “We believe concerned members of the community will clearly be opposed to these proposals.

“We urge anyone concerned to write to their local councillor, MSP and sign our petition. UNISON will continue to campaign against these cuts.”