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'Dirty tricks' over gritter industrial action

17 Dec 2019
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GMB members working for Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) highways have accused the authority of ‘dirty’ tactics ahead of the looming gritter overtime ban on Wednesday.

GMB understands that the council intends to use a private firm to grit the roads in Carmarthenshire for the dates of industrial action; in a move that they believe is an attempt to break the Industrial action.

From Wednesday to Friday there will be a blanket ban on winter gritting duties - meaning roads across south Wales could grind to a halt in the New Year.

With freezing temperatures predicted to hit Wales in the next few weeks, which could cause travel chaos on icy rural lanes in Carmarthenshire. 

In recent weeks GMB, Unison and Unite members of the gritting teams all voted for the option of industrial action after the councils latest offer to staff under-taking winter gritting duties was rejected unanimously by all three unions.

Carmarthenshire currently has some of the worst terms and conditions for staff under-taking gritting duties in comparison with other local authorities.

Peter Hill, GMB Regional Organiser said:

“It’s really quite astounding that the council refuses to pay gritters a fair rate of standby allowance, but are more than happy to pay a private firm the same amount if not more. I’d be astonished if they paid them less.

“We believe Carmarthenshire Council are acting against the principal of the Welsh Government’s Trade Union Wales act, by using alternative labour to undermine and break a legal industrial action.

“It’s a real slap in the face to their gritting teams who have provided years of loyal service on a terrible rate.

“Our members don’t want this as much as anyone, standing outside in sub-zero temperatures at Christmas, we want a deal to be worked out – but dirty tactics like this will do nothing to restore our trust in the council’s management.”

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