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  1. Carole Green

Unions: Merthyr backdown 'a victory - but only for now'

Trade unions have described Merthyr Tydfil council's withdrawal of its 'dismiss and re-hire' proposals as 'a victory - but only for now'.

Councillors were due to meet today to discuss proposed changes to employees' terms and conditions in a bid to save money, including a pay cut and reduced working week.

More than 1,254 workers could have been dismissed by Christmas and re-employed with lower pay if the changes could not be agreed with unions.

The council leader said the move was a 'last resort' to protect public services and jobs in the wake of budget cuts.

But in a council meeting this afternoon, which lasted just a few minutes, the proposals - in a special report - were withdrawn.

Merthyr council withdraws 'dismiss and re-hire' plans

Councillors in Merthyr have backed down on proposals to dismiss 1,254 workers by Christmas and re-employ them on lower pay if contract changes could not be agreed upon.

At a special meeting this afternoon, the council was due to discuss a report containing money-saving proposals, including cutting council wages by up to 3%.

But in a statement released this afternoon, the council said that report has now been withdrawn - with senior managers asked to bring a further report to council "as a matter of urgency".

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UNISON: 'These are the tactics of a vindictive bully'

The union UNISON Cymru Wales says it will fight Merthyr Tydfil council's proposed changes to staff terms and conditions 'every step of the way', claiming: "These are the tactics of a vindictive bully".

The money-saving proposals, set to be discussed at a special council meeting this afternoon, include cutting wages by up to 3%, a reduced working week of 36 hours, and an enforcement of 3.5 days' unpaid leave.

The council says budget cuts have left them with 'no alternative' - but unions have responded angrily.

These are the tactics of a vindictive bully. They won't save or protect jobs.

Council staff have suffered enough. Local government workers have already experienced a real term pay loss of 20% since 2010 and now they are being expected to plug the financial gap further through these unfair proposals.

Merthyr council has already seen a loss of 100 jobs in the last year. The demand on services has not reduced though, so instead staff are being expected to deliver more and these plans would mean that they are doing so for even less money.

UNISON is clear that we will not stand by and allow our members to suffer more financial hardship, especially as we have submitted clear and sensible alternatives that have not been adequately considered by the council.

– Mike Colley, UNISON regional organiser

Merthyr council: Staff T&C proposals 'a last resort'

The leader of Merthyr Tydfil council says it has 'no alternative' but to consider changes to employees' terms and conditions following another reduction to its budget.

More than 1,200 staff could be dismissed and re-employed on lower pay if no agreement can be reached with unions.

As a local authority we have a legal obligation to have a balanced budget at the end of each financial year.

This council has been working tirelessly over the past few years to look at how we make savings across the organisation. In addition to this, we have also looked at how we can deliver our services to the public more efficiently and effectively.

Unfortunately, even by reconfiguring and in some areas cutting some of our services completely, this just isn’t enough and we are now at the stage where we have to dig deeper to try and find these savings from other areas.

Whilst it is recognised that making changes in the terms and conditions of employment is a last resort, unfortunately we are now at the stage where, to keep this council viable, we have no alternative than to consider going down this route.

– Councillor Brendan Toomey, Leader of the Council

Merthyr council meeting to discuss staff changes

A special meeting of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council will take place this afternoon to consider changes to employees' terms and conditions - with 1,254 staff at risk of being dismissed and re-employed on lower pay if no agreement is reached with unions.

Merthyr Tydfil council will consider changes to employees' terms and conditions in order to make savings. Credit: ITV Wales

Proposals include cutting council wages by up to 3%, a reduced working week of 36 hours, and an enforcement of 3.5 days' unpaid leave.

School-based staff would not be affected by the changes.

The council, which faces a budget deficit of £932,000 for the next financial year, says the move is a 'last resort' as it fights to make savings.

Girls encouraged to look at more male-dominated jobs

Women in Wales are still earning around a fifth less than men. One of the reasons for the pay gap is because women tend to work in jobs that are less well paid. A new website, the Equal Pay Barometer, has been launched to help people see the gender gap in pay for hundreds of jobs.

Today a group of students from Treorchy were given a behind the scenes look at a traditionally male job to see if it's a career they could be interested in. Megan Boot reports.

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New site to tackle gender pay gap

An online tool allowing people to check the average salary for hundreds of jobs to see if a gender pay gap exists is being launched.

The project aims to get women to think about non-traditional careers. Credit: Andrea Warnecke/DPA/Press Association Images

The Equal Pay Barometer, comes as part of an EU funded project which aims to tackle the gender pay gap in Wales.

As part of the project, young girls are being encouraged to think about careers in non-traditional jobs such as construction and ICT in order to address the issue.

Later, 16-18 year old girls from Treorchy Comprehensive School will try out a rail driver training simulator at Cardiff Central station to see if they would consider going into non-traditional roles such as train driving.

Aberystwyth University workers strike over planned changes to pensions

University staff will be on strike for the next four days. Credit: ITV News / Kevin Ashford

Workers at Aberystwyth University are protesting this morning over planned changes which unions claim will mean losses to pensions of up to 50 per cent.

The University is extremely disappointed that a small number of staff have said they intend to take industrial action. Whilst fully respecting an individual's right to strike, to target the weekend that the University welcomes its newest students goes against all the hard work undertaken by colleagues during the past year to build relationships and attract students to Aberystwyth.

After a successful Clearing campaign, and news that Aberystwyth is within the top Universities for "the best first impression", this action attempts to hit the core business of the University. This is a potential threat to the University's future sustainability, and aims create concern for new students, who may be away from home for the first time, and their families.

– Aberystwyth University spokesperson

Aberystwyth University staff begin four days of strike action

Four consecutive days of strike action by Aberystwyth University staff over pensions gets underway today.

Staff will strike for four days over pension cuts. Credit: ITV Wales News

Workers from UNISON Cymru/Wales, Unite, UCU and Prospect will be taking part in industrial action, with a march and rally taking place on Saturday.

Union members say strike action has been timed to coincide with the start of the new academic year and the arrival of new students to the University.

It is a crucial time of year for the University, who will be hoping to make a good impression on new students as they arrive to begin their academic career.

All the unions thought long and hard before deciding to take strike action at the beginning of the new term. The University relies on student fees to fund its activity. If Aberystwyth gets a bad reputation, it will damage the University.

Our members want to see the University thrive, to be a fantastic place to study, but we cannot accept that this should be done on the back of massive cuts to our members pensions.

– Simon Dunn, UNISON regional organiser

Latest employment figures to be released

There's been a trend of falling unemployment in Wales. Credit: PA

New employment figures for Wales are to be released later today.

Last month unemployment across the country fell, with 25,000 fewer people out of work compared to a year ago.

However, the figures also indicated that almost 100,000 people in Wales are still without a job.

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