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Unison: Carmarthenshire County Council is dragging its feet over union recognition



THE CARMARTHENSHIRE branch of Unison is accusing Carmarthenshire County Council of dragging its feet reaching a trade union recognition agreement between Unison, GMB and Unite trade unions and Cwm Environmental.

Unison is calling for Trade Union Recognition Agreement (TURA) with Cwm Environmental a company which is 100% owned by Plaid led Carmarthenshire County Council.

In a press release a spokesperson for Unison said: “In response we have faced obfuscation, opposition and delaying tactics from the company and the council. As a result, our patience is running thin and hence we feel the need to go public on this issue.

“The TURA would be for Cwm to recognise Unison, GMB and Unite (local authority recognised trade unions) and then we would be able to negotiate on behalf of our Cwm members regarding pay, terms and conditions etc.

“But here lies the problem Cwm which is wholly owned by the council, but the company’s pay, terms and conditions are inferior to that of the council.

“We think the company was set up many years ago by the council with the intention of getting business through being able to charge less for the service they provided due to employees being on inferior pay, terms and conditions than the council.

“While negotiations for TURA have begun (slowly) it would also be true to say that the company and the council have been dragged to kicking and screaming to the negotiation table. We think the answer is above as to why this is the case.

“It is clear to us that Cwm Environmental are controlled by the council aside from the fact that many council employees are on the board of the company when we have complained to the council about Cwm’s behaviour towards Unison there has been immediate changes. We hear a lot of talk about integrity, openness, and transparency and of wanting to work with the trade unions, but this is another example of where the council do not feel it is in their interests they do not cooperate.

“The company’s managers tell our members they must do things like the council because they are owned by the council whereas the council tell us that the company is independent of the council. It cannot be both and the reality is Cwm does what it is told by the council.

“We have serious concerns about how our members are being treated by Cwm management and we have serious concerns about the decision making of management and their HR department. Our members think that if they must do what the council does, they should have the same pay, terms, and conditions as the council, and we agree with this. The council need to be open and explicitly state whether they are in favour of a TURA and if so, order Cwm to get on with agreeing one immediately.

Mark Evans, Branch Secretary Carmarthenshire County UNISON Branch said: “There should not be one rule (trade union recognition) for the council and another for Cwm. Clearly, we wish to improve the pay, terms, and conditions of our members but we can also save the company money by offering advice before expensive equipment is bought, we can advise and improve Health and Safety and where members feel listened to and consulted through their trade unions this will tend to be a happier more productive workforce.

 “Stop playing for time and get on with agreeing a TURA and stop doing things on the cheap.”

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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister



International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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Exciting new project hopes to help close the loop on waste in Carmarthenshire



CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council and CWM Environmental Ltd have unveiled exciting plans for a new ‘re-use village’ in Nantycaws which will close the loop on waste within the county by repairing, reusing and refurbishing items.

The re-use village will provide a sustainable shopping experience by giving a new lease of life to various household items including furniture, bicycles, electricals, gardening equipment, paint and much more.

An education centre, café and toilets are planned for the site.

This exciting new project will encourage visitors to donate instead of disposing of items and purchase previously used items rather than buying new whenever possible.

Future circular economy projects will include a re-use shop in Llanelli town centre as well as other locations in the county as part of the council’s aim to create a circular economy for Carmarthenshire.

The council and CWM Environmental are working together to identify various ways in which the circular economy can be developed across the county.

This has been made possible through the Green Recovery Circular Economy funding by Welsh Government.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment: “The re-use village is an exciting step in Carmarthenshire’s journey towards a circular economy. The project looks to close the loop on waste and encourages the reuse and repurposing of items, instead of needlessly disposing of them. The re-use village will provide an alternative shopping experience where quality items can be purchased at a reasonable cost.

“Donation stations will be made available at the county’s household waste recycling centres where residents can donate items of a reasonable quality that they no longer have a use for. This could be anything from an outgrown bike, a chest of drawers in need of upcycling or a games console that is no longer used.”

The re-use village and future re-use projects will help to achieve Carmarthenshire’s ambition of delivering a circular economy throughout the county as well as becoming a leader in recycling and re-use within Wales.

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste by cutting down on throw away consumption and turning materials that would have previously been thrown away into a valuable resource. 

This project has been funded through Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund to help accelerate Wales’ shift towards a circular economy.

This means waste is avoided and resources are kept in use for as long as possible.

This is a key part of climate change action and also brings considerable economic opportunities as a part of the move to a low carbon economy.

For further information visit

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Have your say in Sandy Road traffic flow consultation



A PUBLIC consultation is being held to allow feedback on options for improving traffic flow along Llanelli’s Sandy Road.

Carmarthenshire County Council, working with transport engineers at Atkins, is opening a three-week consultation allowing anyone with an interest in the traffic along the A484 to have their say.

The consultation follows several investigations and topographical surveys which has led to some proposals being developed.

Residents in the immediate vicinity of proposed schemes have been invited to a presentation allowing them to speak to the project team before the public consultation opens online on Tuesday May 18.

The consultation seeks to find out how people travel through Sandy Road and how people feel about the improvement proposals.

Feedback will be reported to the council’s Executive Board before any decisions are made.

Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “We have been looking at options for traffic improvement in this area and I’m pleased we are bringing forward this consultation which will allow us to gather people’s views on the proposals put forward by our transport engineers. I’d encourage anyone who lives in the area or who uses the road to have their say.”

For further information, and to provide feedback, visit from Tuesday May 18.

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