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Council discuss £735 payment for care and early years staff to ‘correct’ an ‘injustice’ for those who missed out

COUNCILLORS could “correct” an “injustice” suffered by some Blaenau Gwent staff who missed out on a government payment of £735.

At a Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council meeting on Thursday, February 17, opposition councillors from the Labour and Minority Independent groups will put the motion forward for debate.

Labour group leader Cllr Steve Thomas,  Labour group deputy leader Cllr Haydn Trollope, Labour’s Cllr Peter Baldwin  along with Minority Independent group leader, Cllr Phil Edwards and Minority Independent group’s Cllr Jonathan Millard have signed a motion asking for all workers who missed out on the Welsh Government’s Financial Recognition Scheme to be recognised and receive the payment.

The five point out that staff from Workforce Development, Early Years Childcare and Play, Families First, and Flying Start are all part of the councils’ social services directorate.

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The councillors said:

“These staff members 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 have benefited
from the scheme.”

The councillors want Blaenau Gwent Council to:

“Recognise the dedication and hard work and to put right the injustice suffered by them by paying each member a one-off payment of £735.”

According to the motion there are around 100 members of staff that missed out, and this would cost the council £73,500 which would come from the council’s own pocket.

The motion points out that that under the original guidance in April 2021 all of social services directorate employees were to get the one-off payment, however this was changed two weeks later with staff in these areas missing out.

The councillors stress that the employees were “actively on the front line at the very onset of Covid 19 and have continued to support the most vulnerable children and families in Blaenau Gwent.”

They point out that Flying Start childcare settings were kept open and staff looked after the most vulnerable children and those of critical workers, and that they were: “putting themselves and their families in the path of the unknown.”

The councillors add that family support workers continued to meet people face to face throughout the pandemic.

And they stress that many of the staff in this sector are the lowest-paid employees in the authority.

The councillors add that: “This payment would significantly benefit them in difficult times.”

Due to the 8.4 per cent funding increase from the Welsh Government the councillors say: “We have the financial means to right this wrong.”

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