UNISON holds protest over Merthyr council restrictions on union help

Merthyr Tydfil Civic Centre

Council workers in Merthyr Tydfil held a protest on Wednesday after the local authority severely reduced the ability of staff to get support from their union, says UNISON.

The union, which represents hundreds of staff at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, has organised the event in response to a restriction in access to reps from five down to two days a week.

The effect of this change will mean council employees will only be able to access union reps for two days in every week.

It could also mean delays to disciplinary hearings and grievances, as well as talks between management and unions.

Workers staged a protest outside the Civic Centre in Merthyr yesterday (Wednesday) ahead of a full council meeting.

Carmen Bezzina

UNISON Cymru/Wales regional organiser Carmen Bezzina (pictured above) said: “Cutting access to union reps is already having severe consequences, affecting all the council’s employees.

“The union has always strived to work with the council to solve disputes quickly. This move is extremely disappointing and will make it very difficult to give staff the support they need.”

UNISON Cwm Taf local government branch secretary Peter Crews said: “Many workers will be fortunate enough to go through their career not needing union representation, but they never know when they will.

“These cuts will make it much harder to get the help they need. The constant pressure on public spending means it’s more important than ever for employers to have good and constant communications with unions.”