Nine council workers have lost their jobs for spending too long on the internet auction site eBay. Three were sacked and six resigned after managers at Neath Port Talbot council found some staff were spending up to two hours a day on the website.
Union officials have blamed bosses for "putting temptation in their way" - by allowing access to the internet. The council said it carried out an investigation after officers spent a "significant time" on the internet. It highlighted "an unacceptable level of usage of shopping, entertainment".
Graham Jones, personnel chief at the council, said: "We have a policy of allowing employees to use the internet in their own time. "We know it benefits them as well as the council as they became more expert in using it and more IT-aware. But we clearly don't want them to use it in council time - at the end of the day they are employed to do a job of work not be shopping online."
The council, which employs 7,500 staff, had security software in place to prevent access to inappropriate websites such as porn sites but not eBay sites.
Unison welfare officer Mark Fisher said people got "addicted" to certain websites. "People get very involved in eBay, Sky Sports and their favourite soccer teams. It happens in many, many offices," he said. "Obviously we cannot justify people spending a couple of hours of working time looking at these sites - but temptation was put in their way," he added.
"We plan to push for the authority to make changes to its IT system, to help prevent workers landing themselves in hot water." He called for internet access be limited to lunch break and that web access should be filtered at other times.
"We want them to take temptation out of people's hands," Mr Fisher said. "These were decent well-paid jobs in admin earning between £20,000 and £25,000 a year. It is personally devastating to them to lose their jobs over this."