GOLFERS at Dundee’s two municipal golf courses will be forced to play on “unkempt” courses due to a change in greenkeepers’ working hours, it has been claimed.
The comments — branded as ‘misleading’ by Leisure and Culture Dundee — come as city golfers also said that standards at Caird Park and Camperdown golf courses continue to fall because of staff cutbacks.
Helen Meldrum, of the Dundee branch of the GMB union, said: “Golfers are set to face unkempt public courses from this week at Caird Park and Camperdown.
“A cynical move by the management at Leisure and Culture in Dundee means that green keepers will not start work until 8am.”
Ms Meldrum said that management had been trying to change greenkeepers’ terms and conditions without appropriate consultation for some time now.
She said: “Due to the GMB union contending that appropriate consultation has not taken place, the workers have received a letter demanding they start work at 8am rather than the 6.30am start they have operated for many years, with the added threat of disciplinary action if they do not comply.
“The union believes that the move is a cynical one, because LACD has itself accepted that an 8am start is not practical for the upkeep of the courses.
“Our members want to ensure that courses are fit for purpose and by having the greenkeepers begin later than golfers start will be detrimental to the golfing experience.”
Tom Alexander, 71, from Fintry, has golfed at Caird Park for more than 60 years.
He said he was very disappointed at the actions of Leisure and Culture Dundee.
Tom added: “The greenkeepers here all work hard, but if their hours are changed there is a limit to what they can do.
“Other cutbacks have seen standards at the course slip and have resulted in membership of the club here continuing to fall.”
A Leisure & Culture Dundee spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with misleading statements the GMB union has put forward.
“We have been in consultative discussion with staff and the GMB for 18 months to help address the significant issues affecting golf and the golf courses in the city.
“This has included bringing greenkeeper summer working hours in line with industry practice. In the absence of an agreement to change summer working hours, we have honoured staff terms and conditions.
“This includes working to contracted hours with an 8am start for greenkeepers.
“We have ambitious plans to invest in, and improve the service, which will help tackle the various challenges facing golf.”