Powys County Council has come under pressure from the Leader of the Welsh Labour Group over its plans to furlough staff.
In a meeting of the Finance Panel, the Council’s Deputy Leader told committee members that the Council was considering plans to furlough staff. The Conservative Councillor went on to say that staff in catering and cleaning roles were being considered for the scheme which sees government covering 80% of staff wages.
Furloughed staff stay on the organisation’s payroll but do not work while formally furloughed. The employer can provide a 20% top up to the furlough payments to ensure staff are not financially worse off.
Cllr Matthew Dorrance, the Welsh Labour Group Leader, has put pressure on the Council to agree five principles before any staff furlough scheme is approved.
Using the Council’s constitution and the “Questions at any time” process, Cllr Matthew Dorrance has asked the Council to commit to:
- Follow the lead of those Councils in Wales which are topping up furloughing payments to ensure staff do not lose out on wages;
- Ensure that any decision to furlough staff isn’t targeted at the lowest paid but instead is one that looks fairly across the workforce and prioritises the delivery of vital public services;
- Ensure that Trade Unions are consulted and engaged before any decision is made;
- Undertake and publish an Equality Impact Assessment on the effect of the decision; and
- Make sure the relevant scrutiny committee has the opportunity to consider the proposal ahead of any implementation.
Cllr Matthew Dorrance said:
“If we truly respect and value the people who work in our public services then we have to treat them with decency and fairness.
“I am calling on Powys County Council to do the right thing and treat our key workers with the respect they deserve.
“I believe any decision to furlough our hardworking staff must meet the five principles I have set out and I am expecting the Cabinet to consider them fully before they put any scheme into place.”