Tens of thousands of UK council staff are set to be redeployed in “critical” roles during the coronavirus crisis. Following the temporary closure of many services, local authorities are now carrying out skills surveys to see whether they can move employees into social care, crematoriums and waste collection. GMB’s national officer Karen Leonard said: “Any role changes should be a reasonable alternative that matches the skill set and knowledge as closely as possible. Everyone wants to help, but safety has to be a priority. Let’s apply some common sense”. Unison said it has particular concern over people moving into refuse collection and adult social care. The union’s head of local government and education, John Richards, added that any staff being asked to take on a more skilled job during the pandemic should be paid accordingly. The LGA said: “Council staff are stepping up to this unprecedented challenge and are having to be flexible to ensure that vital local services can be maintained. They continue to do an amazing job in hugely challenging circumstances.”