REFUSE workers in Carmarthenshire say that their requests for holidays are not given fair consideration by Carmarthenshire County Council. The workers claim that only six refuse workers are allowed to be off work on holiday at any one time and that this was never discussed with them before being implemented.
Mark Evans the Branch Secretary of Carmarthenshire UNISON said: “A number of refuse workers have been refused requests for annual leave. Refusals are based on how many staff are off for whatever reason at the time. A figure of six employees are allowed to be off at any one time.
“This figure was never discussed with the trade unions let alone agreed. Management say that they try and negotiate alternative dates for leave with employee. Carmarthenshire County Council annual leave policy only states that you have to give double the time requested off i.e. if you want a week off you have to give two weeks notice.
Mr. Evans said that he believed the process was unfair. He said: “Unison and the other trade unions are not convinced that annual leave is granted fairly. Also summer holidays come around every year and yet the local authority to date have failed to ensure measures are put in place to ensure the vast majority of annual leave requests can be granted. Some measures are being taken now but that is due to the pressure exerted by our branch.
“We will be meeting with management to review how annual leave is granted and to put in place a fairer system. The above applies to refuse workers we are not aware of other staff having problems taking annual leave.
Speaking about the excellent work carried out by refuse workers during the pandemic Mr. Evans said: “Refuse workers have worked throughout the pandemic they have received no extra payments like social care staff and it is galling that they cannot take annual leave when they want. Obviously there has to be some limits to how many can be off but the local authority needs to plan ahead.”
The council’s executive board member for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Front-line operational services such as refuse collection have to be managed by striking an operational balance between allowing our employees to take their leave and ensuring continuity of service for the public.
“Union representatives have brought their concerns to our managers and we are in discussion with the team to see what changes can be made. Unfortunately we cannot allow a large proportion of our teams to be on leave at the same time.
“We will continue to work positively and constructively with our workforce and union representatives to resolve such concerns as best we can.”