Unite the union has strongly welcomed the announcement today (Friday 1 May) by Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford that all care workers in Wales will receive a £500 payment in recognition of the work they have undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Unite has also warned that the UK government cannot ignore the low pay rates that many of the key workers during this crisis currently receive.

All carers in Wales to benefit

Unite understands that the payment will be made to all carers regardless of whether they are employed by local authorities, not for profit organisations or private providers.

Tremendous initiative 

Unite regional secretary for Wales Peter Hughes said: “This is a tremendous initiative and underlines the work that the Welsh Labour government has done to both protect and acknowledge the incredible work of frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “This payment goes a small way towards showing the appreciation in Wales for care workers, many of whom are on the minimum wage, who have continued to care for their clients and keep them safe in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.

 “This initiative highlights the forward thinking nature of the Welsh government, which has demonstrated again that it delivers for workers.”

Announcement welcomed

Paddy McNaught lead officer for Local Authority’s in Unite Wales said:“Unite welcomes the Welsh government’s announcement and its commitment to reward and acknowledge the professional and outstanding service being provided by care sector workers during this pandemic.

 “This welcome initiative needs to be extended to recognise the commitment of all frontline staff who at great risk to their own health and wellbeing are continuing to provide vital council services.

 “This announcement cannot offset the UK-wide injustice that after a decade of austerity and pay cuts, council workers have been offered just a 2.75 per cent pay increase, which works out at only £1.83 a day for the lowest paid.

 “Frontline workers including bin workers and care workers are paid less than £20,000 a year, yet are risking their lives for a pitiful £1.83 more a day.

 “This can only be addressed through a decent pay settlement for all local authority workers and Unite calls upon the Welsh government to support the trade unions in calling for the national employers to agree a much improved offer funded by central government.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.