Dan Peters 19 May 2020

Rejection of coronavirus bonus a 'slap in the face'

Rejection of coronavirus bonus a slap in the face image

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.'

One year on, councils will be central to recovery image

One year on, councils will be central to recovery

After an extraordinary year, council staff are exhausted, worn down and facing further cuts, says Heather Jameson. But she has no doubt they will continue to rise to the challenge 'whether it is in an office, at home or on a laptop anywhere'.
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