ANGRY sports centre staff are upset they will have to pay to use their own facilities.

Workers from Freedom leisure, which operates sites including Hove’s King Alfred Leisure Centre and the Prince Regent swimming pool in Brighton, are being told they will lose perks which have allowed to use their workplaces free until now.

They will have to pay a £5 monthly membership but managers said they were surprised at the unrest as the new arrangement meant families of workers will be able to swim free.

One worker, who asked not to be named, told The Argus charging had upset colleagues.

“Everyone is up in arms and I think charging people is disgusting,” he said.

“You might think £5 is not bad but when you’ve been getting something for free it is.

“It’s been causing really bad feeing.”

He said staff such as lifeguards and gym workers need to keep fit so should be able to use the facilities to stay trim.

But a Freedom Leisure spokeswoman said they were surprised to learn that changes to the staff membership policy “have not been received in the light in which they are intended”.

She said the changes were being made across Freedom leisure and would benefit staff and their families.

She said: “Over the last two years Freedom Leisure increased the number of contracts it manages and in turn the workforce grew to over 3,000 staff, prompting the need for a new policy.

“We have been transparent in our communication about this change, which is essential to ensure everybody has equitable access to facilities.

“We are keen for our staff to enjoy the benefits of exercise and from October 1 we are introducing the choice of two subsidised membership rates and they can use any Freedom Leisure centre in the group.”

She added that staff will be able to take their family swimming free under the new provisions.

“Staff will be able to take their family swimming for free at any Freedom Leisure pool, plus a new joint membership option means staff can share the benefits of subsidised membership with a family member. Neither of these additions were previously enjoyed.

“Finally, as a non-for-profit organisation we wish to assure all users of Freedom Leisure facilities, that any financial surpluses made are reinvested into facilities so that they are the best they can be for local communities and staff users alike.”