Council workers relieved as authority scraps restrictions on union help

Joanne Murphy Cwm Taf Local Government branch chair

Council workers in Merthyr Tydfil say they feel a huge sense of relief after the local authority scrapped its decision to restrict the amount of time staff can access union reps.

UNISON, which represents hundreds of staff at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, has been campaigning against a decision to cut employees’ access to their union representatives.

It would have meant council workers would only have been able to access union support for just two days a week.

UNISON held a protest outside the Civic Centre in Merthyr on Wednesday November 8 ahead of a full council meeting.

Following an amendment by the council’s Labour group, councillors voted to allow staff five days access to their union reps every week until 31 March 2024.

UNISON Cymru/Wales Cwm Taf local government branch chair Joanne Murphy (pictured above) said: “There is a huge sense of relief among council workers as the decision was overturned.

“As a council employee myself, I can’t stress enough how important the role of a trade union officer is within the workplace.

“It is essential not only for negotiations and disciplinary matters but maintaining wellbeing and supporting with welfare issues as well as supporting staff with health issues such as mental health and menopause.

“The support of our representatives and officers prevents sickness absence by signposting to support networks early and ensure safety standards are maintained.”