A UNION has warned Barry Town Council they could face a backlash over ‘fire and rehire’ – but the council has denied that this was their intention.

GMB Union, the union for council staff, has warned Barry Town council they face strike action after they allegedly issued a ‘fire and rehire’ notice to six cemetery workers – but Barry Town Council has categorically denied these claims, while admitting to a change of terms and conditions for these workers.

Fire and rehire is a practice that sees an employer forcing an employee to accept changes to their contract or be fired and rehired on worse terms and conditions – a recent poll shows 75 per cent of British people believe the practice should be banned.

The council has said they are attempting to make a ‘minor variation’ to cemetery workers’ terms and conditions with no reduction in hours, pay, nor continuity of service.

According to the council this variation was to include two or three later shifts per month between April and September – this follows a trial period at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery of the gates remaining open until 7pm allowing working families to visit graves in summer months.

The change, according to the council, would mean that staff at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery would have to work 14 shifts of 11am to 7pm a year which their statement says is a ‘fair and reasonable’ request.

It states: “First trialled in summer 2018 and summer 2019, and continued since, this is a service which families are truly grateful for, as this allows them the flexibility of visiting times.

“Extensive consultation has taken place since March 2020 including ACAS support to try to reach a formal shared way forward via the Union.

“The Union has refused to consider any variation despite being offered a financial incentive to accept the change.”


But GMB Union argue that the council have imposed ‘unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment, without their consent.’

They claim that the council has rejected all the union’s representations and withdrawn from talks.

GMB Regional Organiser, Nicola Savage, said: “Barry Town Council think they can run roughshod over its staff; they can’t.

“Members should have no fear that we will stand up and protect them.

“The damage is done, members from across the council feel betrayed and we’re balloting our members now on whether to take strike action.

“The council should stop digging a hole and come back to the table immediately, or this could escalate into strike action.”