Dan Peters 19 May 2020

Rejection of coronavirus bonus a 'slap in the face'

A top union official has branded English councils’ refusal to rally behind a campaign for a workers’ coronavirus bonus as a ‘slap in the face’.

National employers had recommended that the Local Government Association (LGA) should back a union bid for a bonus after it was announced that all care workers in Wales would receive a £500 payment in recognition of their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, members of the LGA’s executive advisory board decided by a majority to reject supporting a bonus.

A letter seen by The MJ to the unions from LGA chairman, Cllr James Jamieson, read: ‘The view of members was that the LGA’s focus needed to be on securing additional funding for the sector so that councils could then prioritise spending, with a focus on protecting services and jobs.’

Disappointed national officer at Unite, Jim Kennedy, said: ‘It’s a slap in the face for our hard-working, underpaid, undervalued workforce who are supporting our communities.’

Unison's head of local government, Jon Richards, added: 'Local government workers have long been the unsung heroes of public services. 

'Now, more than ever, they're keeping us safe and looking after us, and they deserve a decent pay increase. 

'With councils struggling to stay afloat, it's vital ministers step in and properly fund local government workers’ pay with real long-term investment rather than any short-term bonuses.'

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