Northern Ireland

Robinson centre: Union says employment secured for 38 staff

The asbestos was found in an area of the centre not open to the public
Image caption The asbestos was found in an area of the centre not open to the public

The trade union Unite has said it has secured employment for 38 former Castlereagh Borough Council staff who faced an uncertain future.

They worked at the Robinson leisure centre in east Belfast, now closed following the discovery of asbestos.

A legal row over liability began as the centre transferred from Castlereagh to Belfast City Council this month.

Belfast City Council said it is working with staff "to find meaningful work until the legal dispute is resolved".

"All staff are being paid in full by Belfast City Council," it said in a statement.

Unite said it had secured the redeployment of the 38 workers within the council.

Image caption The Robinson centre has been closed since February

Davy Edmont of the union said the workers had been left "in limbo" when the centre closed.

He said the union was taking further legal action on behalf of another 10 workers employed by a third-party operator contracted by Castlereagh Borough Council.

"We will stand by all the former Robinson centre workers until their employment rights are fully vindicated," he said.

In February, a survey carried out at the Robinson centre found that there was asbestos.

It is that discovery that has led to the wrangle over who should be responsible.

The Robinson leisure centre had been part of Castlereagh Borough Council, which under the council changes at the start of April, merged with Lisburn to form Lisburn and Castlereagh Council.

Boundary changes meant the centre is now located in the Belfast City Council area.

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