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Plea for extra road workers

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Plea for extra road workers

ROADS teams in Dumfries and Galloway are aiming to better manage the winter maintenance service and prevent the condition of roads deteriorating further by employing more staff.

Bosses at the roads department have requested an additional £800,000 in funding to employ ten temporary workers up until March 2024.

They insist that this extra manpower will be crucial in supporting “an increased road maintenance programme”, while some of the cash may also be put to use in drafting in contractors at times when the service is stretched.

The state of the region’s roads is a major issue for local residents, but councillors sitting on the finance, procurement and transformation committee will make a decision next Tuesday on whether to invest this additional £800,000 to pay for extra staff.

The proposal comes following ongoing discussions between joint trade unions and council chiefs concerning the lack of resources and the health and safety of staff.

A report being tabled at next week’s meeting reads: “One outcome of these discussions is the identification of the need for additional staffing capacity at operational level of ten temporary roads operatives and associated supervisory capacity to support the delivery of a resilient roads winter service plan.

“This will maintain an operational rota pattern based predominantly on each person being on-call for winter service activities one week out of every three, a rota pattern that is designed to balance the operational requirements of the service with the well-being of the staff who deliver it.”

The report continues: “In addition to improving the resilience of the roads winter service, the employment of these additional operational staff will increase the volume of road repair activity that the service is able to deliver across both the winter period and, importantly, into the spring and summer periods when the damage caused to road and footpath surfaces through freeze/thaw action over the winter results in increased break-up of the surfaces.

“This increased capacity will enable improved responsiveness and timeliness of repairs to priority road defects.

“The overall staffing resource will be deployed in a flexible manner to respond to prevailing weather conditions/other priorities as requirements dictate.”

It is proposed the temporary workers are given contracts for 15 months, taking their employment up to March 2024.


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