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Councils ‘failing female care workers’

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UNISON, the public services union, is using today’s International Women’s Day (Mar 8) to warn local authorities that overstretched resources in the care sector are depriving the largely female workforce of any dignity at work.

A great deal of care is provided for councils by non-profit organisations and the trade union has written to every council in Wales requesting a meeting to discuss how better funding in the sector would lift carers out of poverty.

Extreme financial constraints in the non-profit care sector have resulted in the slashing of carers’ supplements for sleep-ins at service users’ homes, holiday pay, bank holiday working premiums and sick pay.

Typically, they earn the minimum wage of £7.20 an hour and carers have told UNISON they feel exploited and would be financially better off working on the tills at a supermarket. Yet the work carers undertake is invaluable; they check on the welfare of service users and amongst other tasks, might help them take medication or prepare their meals. They care for the most vulnerable in society.

Many women opt to work in the care sector because it offers flexible working which can fit around their own care responsibilities at home.

Lynne Hackett, UNISON organiser said: “Thousands of women in Wales and their children are suffering the effects of in-work poverty despite their dedication in caring for older people, those who are physically disabled, individuals with mental health issues and those with learning disabilities and difficulties.

“If they were directly employed by the councils they would be more fairly paid. If care has been outsourced, councils should provide sufficient funding to non-profit organisations to ensure quality care for service users and dignity for the workforce. We know the pressures councils are under because of savage UK Conservative government cuts but the answer can’t be to punish those delivering care.

“Torfaen, Caerphilly, Bridgend and Flintshire councils deserve credit for agreeing to meet with us to discuss the crisis. Some local authorities are in a state of denial about the care sector and have not responded to UNISON. As we approach the local elections this will not be viewed sympathetically by the female carers living and working in their communities. On International Women’s Day, it would be wonderfully symbolic if all councils in Wales consented to a meeting.”

UNISON believes care should be undertaken by councils with a directly-employed local government workforce. The trade union has developed an Ethical Care Charter which it is asking councils in Wales to adopt. It would ensure dignity of care for patients and fair and decent employment standards for care staff.

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New Quay RNLI crew members pass out as ILB helms

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NEW QUAY RNLI crew members Huw Williams and Dylan Price recently passed out as inshore lifeboat helms.

They were put through their paces by an RNLI Assessor on Monday (Aug 13) with a written exam ashore and a practical assessment afloat on the D class inshore lifeboat.

Roger Couch, Lifeboat Operation Manager of New Quay RNLI said: “As well as responding to emergencies our volunteer crew members spend a lot of time training in order to maintain their knowledge and skills.

“Both crew members have worked very hard over the past 12 months to complete all the training units needed and have now passed the final stage.

“Our lifeboats are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round and having seven qualified helms for our inshore lifeboat provides us with additional flexibility.”

Huw Williams added:“Dylan and I would like to thank all the crew here at New Quay lifeboat station for their help over the last 12 months. We could not have done it without their support.”

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Schools succeed in A-Level results

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A-LEVEL examination results published yesterday(16 August) by the WJEC indicate that high standards are being achieved in Ceredigion schools.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Learning Services said: “Our sincere congratulations are extended to Ceredigion sixth form students who, once again have excelled in their A Levels. Thank you to all school staff, Governors and parents who have supported our young people to fulfil their potential.

“Their successes are a testament to our pupils’ efforts and hard work, in addition to the quality of education provided by teachers in Ceredigion. We are proud of the well-deserved achievements of our young people and wish them well in the future.”

Nearly 27% of Ceredigion entries achieved A* – A grades and 77% of entries achieved A*- C grades. A pass rate of 98% was achieved by Ceredigion students.

  Ceredigion Wales

 

Grade A* – A 26.8% 26.3%
Grade A* – B 56.7% n/a
Grade A* – C 77.1% n/a
Grade A* – E 97.8% 97.4%

Compared with last year, 6% more of Ceredigion entries achieved A*-A grades. The number of entries that have achieved A*-A, and A*-E in Ceredigion is higher than the Welsh average.

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Man assaulted nurses while being restrained

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A PRE-SENTENCE report will be prepared on a Ceredigion man who assaulted two nurses and destroyed an extractor fan.

Lewis Hill, aged 24, of Brynhoffnant, appeared before Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Tuesday (Aug 14) to plead guilty to the three charges.

Prosecuting, Mr Vaughan Pritchard-Jones told the Court: “At 11pm in the evening on January 30, the defendant was on the roof of Bronglais Hospital threatening to jump off. Police and medical personnel attended and were able to talk him down.

“He was taken to the Cwm Seren ward in St Davids Park, Carmarthen, where they arrived at 1:03am the following morning. During the course of being assessed he became aggressive and had to be restrained by staff. He kicked out at the first nurse and was then put on the floor.

“Whilst on the floor he was throwing his head back and forth and the staff nurse, who was concerned for him, tried to hold his head but he continued to throw his head and because of the force he was using he trapped her finger onto the floor.

“The charge did originally read as common assault but the nurse went to get her finger x-rayed which revealed the fracture.

“After that incident he got free and he started damaging an extractor fan which he completely destroyed.
“I am not sure why the case has taken so long to come here but at the time of the offence he was on a suspended prison sentence, the period for which has now elapsed.”

Defending, Mrs Katie Hanson added: “He is extremely sorry for his actions on that night. He was on the roof of Bronglais Hospital trying to commit suicide. There are serious mental health issues but he accepts he was struggling on the floor but he did not intentionally hurt anyone and he apologises for his actions.”

Magistrates ordered that a pre-sentence report be prepared and Hill was released on unconditional bail and must return to court on Wednesday, August 29 for sentencing.

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