COUNCIL staff are expected to grit frosty roads this weekend after agreeing a pay deal with the council.
The agreement ends one week of dispute between 50 Kirklees Council workers and their employer.
Council bosses, workers and their union, Unison, had been wrangling at Huddersfield Town Hall to strike an acceptable deal in time for this weekend’s predicted cold weather.
The highway workers had refused to make themselves available for gritting duty last week after the council announced a change in the way they were paid.
But at 2.45pm yesterday the workers and their union settled on a new pay scheme which will run until the end of the ‘gritting season’ in April.
The gritters, who went on duty yesterday, are expected to start their first task tonight when frost is expected.
A permanent pay deal for the council employees who sign up to grit the borough’s roads for extra cash, is expected to be finalised by the end of December.
The council’s standby policy meant that drivers would only be paid from the minute they began gritting. They would not be paid for preparing the wagons or driving to remote gritting locations from the bases in Honley and Batley as they have been in previous winters.
Fine details of their new contract will be finalised on Monday.
Kirklees Unison leader Paul Holmes said the workers were happy with their new terms.
Mr Holmes said: “We had a meeting at 11am with the men who rejected the offer. We met management at 2pm and came to an agreement by 2.45pm with an offer that is perfectly acceptable to the members and the members are happy with the deal and will be on standby this weekend.
“They are expected to grit on Saturday night as we are expecting frost.
“There’s a few minor things to be sorted out.
“The 24 weeks of ‘gritting season’ started on Friday.
“By the end of December there will be a model for future use, but this will see us through to next April.
“The council will put a proposal to us for a permanent deal.”
The row followed revelations that the council, which has vowed to save tens of millions over the next few years, had only budgeted for five days of snow this winter.
Officials had decided that £1.79m was all that was needed to be set aside for gritting workers’ pay, materials and all costs of dealing with winter weather.