Crunch talks are set to take place on Monday, January 17, between Carmarthenshire's road gritters and the local authority.

The talks are set to take place after gritting staff downed tools on the January 5 and 6.

Further industrial action is expected next week, between January 18 and 21, and again between January 24 and 28.

The dispute follows on from action taken two years ago that saw the introduction of the comprehensive collective agreement between the union and the authority.

Peter Hill, GMB regional organiser said: “We’re pleased the council has come back to the table.

“Let’s be clear, the council can resolve this dispute by honouring the agreements that they already signed with us two years ago."

Last week Carmarthenshire County Council reassured the public that contingency arrangements were in place to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

The council rejected comments made by the GMB about the agreement that is in place in relation to winter maintenance duties, and says it has also put forward a revised offer.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "The council recognises and values the contribution of our employees in helping to ensure the road network is treated during the winter months to provide a safe road network for the public, businesses and the emergency services.

"The council made a formal agreement with the trade unions in 2020 to cover winter maintenance duties.

"The agreement recognised the valuable contribution our employees make and provided them with a remuneration package which is one of the highest in Wales.

"The council has adhered to the terms and conditions of the negotiated agreement and has always worked to support our employees to provide a safe road network for our communities, businesses and emergency services, as far as reasonably practicable.

"An increased offer was put to the trade unions to help secure the winter maintenance service. The offer was considered very reasonable and at the level of what the council can afford.

"Unfortunately, trade union colleagues chose not to present this offer to their members but have decided to ballot and implement a period of industrial action at this difficult time.

"These are extremely challenging times as COVID continues impact on communities and employee resource.

"The offer remains available to our employees and on the negotiating table with our trade unions.

"We hope that in the wider interest of our communities, our employees will give the offer due consideration.

"In the interim the council will implement its contingency plan to undertake gritting on a reduced resilient network.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s winter maintenance service ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along the highway is not endangered by snow or ice.

To fulfil this duty, the council normally treats a primary network of 17 gritting routes along our main highways ahead of freezing weather, including 13 gritting routes along county roads (23% of network) and four trunk road routes. The resilient network includes the four trunk road routes.

Residents are being reminded to drive responsibly during the winter months, and in particular to be mindful of changing weather conditions.