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Call to right ‘profound injustice’ of no Covid payment for essential council workers

26 Sep 2022 2 minute read
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash.

Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A motion to right a “profound injustice” will be put to Blaenau Gwent County Borough councillors for a vote, at their meeting on Thursday, September 29.

The motion  has been put forward by five Labour councillors: Helen Cunningham, Derrick Bevan, Keith Chaplin, Haydn Trollope, and Peter Baldwin.

It is to award a “one off” payment of £735 to council staff that missed out on the money last year.

In April 2021, health and social care workers were given a one-off ‘Welsh Government NHS and Social Care Financial Recognition’ payment.

The scheme had been introduced to recognise and reward the hard work and commitment to those who have provided essential care to the most vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They five said:  “This council recognises and recompenses the hard work and dedication of employees from Workforce Development, Early Years Childcare and Play, Families First, and Flying Start, who are part of the Social Services Directorate.

“These members of our workforce did not receive payment from Welsh Government’s NHS and Social Care Financial Recognition Scheme despite carrying out the same duties throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as their colleagues in the Health and Social Care sectors, who benefited from the scheme.

“Our employees were actively on the front line at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

They added: “Many of the staff in this sector are amongst the lowest-paid employees in the authority, this payment would make a significant difference to them and to and their families material well-being.”

“It would also act as recognition of their dedication in such unprecedented circumstances.”

£73,500 cost

Around 100 workers missed out on the scheme and the cost of making the payments is set to be £73,500.

In February, Labour group leader Cllr Steve Thomas presented a motion to rectify this issue which was debated by council.

But the motion was lost as most Independent councillors voted “reluctantly” against it.

Following a successful election which saw Cllr Thomas become council leader, he promised that the payment would be made.

At a meeting in July, when pressed about the payment Cllr Thomas reaffirmed his commitment and explained that money had been set aside to make the payments.

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