UNISON and GMB unions have hit out at Merthyr Tydfil CBC plans to re-open its civic amenity sites

UNISON and GMB have slammed Merthyr Tydfil CBC over the decision to reopen its civic amenity sites in Dowlais and Aberfan from Monday.

They described any move as “reckless and unnecessary”, and will be advising staff not to return to work until a proper risk assessment has been filled out. The plans surfaced, just a day before the Welsh Government moved to extend the nationwide lockdown to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

UNISON and GMB claim that they have not been consulted on any move, and that the re-opening of the sites contravenes Welsh Government guidelines.

Steve Belcher, UNISON regional organiser said, “These proposals could undo all of the measures already jointly taken with Merthyr Council and the trade unions to protect both the workforce and the public of Merthyr.

“This irresponsible course of action, taken without any consultation, flies in the face of Welsh Government guidelines over non-essential travel and social distancing.

“The joint trade unions will not stand by and allow our members and the general public to be put at risk unnecessarily. It seems to be the case that the council leadership is deliberately provoking a dispute during the most serious public health crisis in living memory.”

Gareth Morgan, GMB organiser said: “These actions are reckless and unnecessary. We have not been consulted at all in this process.

“Any reopening breaches Welsh government guidelines as it’s encouraging unnecessary travel during lockdown. Until we see a proper risk assessment, we will be advising our members that they should avoid going to work.

“The Council needs reverse its decision immediately and make clear its intentions, to reassure the workforce that their welfare is the first and foremost priority of their employer.”