GRITTING operations in Carmarthenshire will take place as normal despite planned industrial action next week.

Two trade unions have informed Carmarthenshire County Council that their members intend to withdraw from overtime in a dispute over pay and conditions on December 18, 19, and 20.

The council has confirmed that contingency measures will be implemented to ensure that all gritting routes will be treated as normal should weather conditions create a risk of ice, frost or snow.

Trade union members taking industrial action have confirmed that whilst they will not undertake winter maintenance duties outside of their normal working hours, they will carry out other overtime operations to deal with highways issues, including fallen trees or floods, if and when required.

Carmarthenshire County Council has said it is disappointed about the continued dispute, but wants to reassure road users that they will be unaffected by the planned action.

Director of Environment, Ruth Mullen, said: “We are disappointed that we remain in dispute, despite having made a further increased offer that is fair and proportionate with other Welsh local authorities.

“This offer, rejected by the unions, is a payment to be on a weekly rota and is over and above what is already on the table. This is payable regardless of whether staff are called to work overtime or not, and on top of their hourly rate - which is paid at the top of their grade - if they are required to work out of hours.

“Our conversations with the trade unions continue, with conciliation being put in place to ensure these conversations come to a satisfactory conclusion as quickly as possible.”

She added: “Despite the industrial action, we have put contingency measures in place to ensure gritting operations will take place as normal to ensure the safety of road users.

“Whilst we do not wish to be in this position, we are keen to ensure that no resources are wasted and therefore the planning for this industrial action will be used to strengthen our contingency planning going forward.”