SIR THOMAS PICTON SCHOOL will be closed all day on Tuesday (July 1) as a result of the industrial protest. Pembrokeshire County Council’s Director for Children and Schools, Jake Morgan, released a letter to parents offering no sympathy or support for the strike. He said in the letter:
“The action is in support of a national policy which requires all teachers to be appointed on their current rate of pay when they decide to move jobs. All authorities in the region are of the view that schools need to retain some flexibility about starting pay, particularly in relation to relief teachers. It has not been explained why Sir Thomas Picton has been targeted when other schools have the same policy. No school in Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot or Swansea has decided to take the same action despite the fact that the teachers who go on strike will not be out of pocket as their lost pay will be made good by their trade unions. The Governing Body of STP are meeting on July 9 where concerns will be considered. Given this, it is of great concern to the Authority that children and their families are disadvantaged prior to the governing body even having the opportunity to consider the concerns.”
However, the NAS/UWT responded with the following statement from Executive Member, Neil Butler, who said: “The simple issue is that the Governing Body of STP introduced a pay policy that is unacceptable to us, along with the NUT. Members asked us to take action at STP. There is also action being taken at Welshpool High School, Powys. This is an attack on teachers’ pay and we will take action in any school that has passed this policy.”
Gareth Lloyd, Wales Officer, NUT told the Herald: “It was with great reluctance that the NUT members at Sir Thomas Picton decided, alongside their colleagues in the NASUWT, to take industrial action. We met as trade unions with Jake Morgan, the Head of Sir Thomas Picton and the Chair of Governors today, to try to negotiate an agreement. They put a proposal to us which we put to our members. Following our meetings with our members we put a counter proposal to the authority which they rejected. They feel distressed that the recent letter from the ERW consortia is filled with inaccuracies and did little to help negotiations.”
“Our members feel very strongly about the principle of pay portability. This principle has been adopted in sixteen of the twenty two local authorities across Wales and endorsed by three of the four consortia. Only ERW has rejected the principle of pay portability. In terms of Pembrokeshire, this will mean that teachers applying for vacancies in the county will be offered less than their counterparts in the rest of Wales, for the same post. We are concerned that this will effect the long term education of the pupils. We do not take industrial action lightly but members in a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and the rest of the ERW region have contacted us with concerns over this proposal. Penglais School governors in Ceredigion averted strike action by adopting pay portability without exemption.”
“We are due to meet with Jake Morgan early next week and later that week present our case for pay portability to the full governing body. We are and have been prepared to negotiate with relevant stakeholders”
Ambulance delays as heart attack victims left waiting one hour 57 minutes
FREEDOM of Information requests reveal the worst ambulance delays out of 22 local authorities in Wales.
Postcode lottery revealed with patients in some areas waiting over double the amount of time for life-threatening calls
The average wait time for amber calls, which includes heart attack and stroke victims was 1 hour 57 minutes. In Swansea, it was 2 hours 33 minutes.
Shocking figures have unveiled the local areas in Wales with the longest ambulance delays, revealing a stark “postcode lottery” for response times to life-threatening calls.
Figures were provided by local authority giving a more local breakdown of the usual Health Board data.
Potential heart attack and stroke victims in the worst-hit areas are now waiting an average of one hour and 57 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
The figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, reveal how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural areas than urban ones. In Anglesey, patients waited an average of 12 minutes and 22 seconds for category 1 calls compared to 6 minutes 31 seconds in Newport.
However, the figures for amber calls painted a much starker picture with an average arrival time of 1 hour 57 minutes in Wales, with the worst in Swansea, where the average wait was 2 hours 33 minutes.
Overall, 13 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales had an average wait of over 2 hours for amber calls.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for action on the social care crisis in order to free up hospital beds and stop ambulances waiting outside hospitals.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“These figures are heart-breaking, but not necessarily shocking to anyone who has had to call on an ambulance in recent months.
“Far too many people are being left to wait too long in an emergency across every region of Wales. The length of amber calls, which includes stroke and heart attack victims in particularly concerning.
“None of this is the fault of our hardworking ambulance staff who are doing their utmost in extremely difficult conditions.
“We must see an end to the postcode lottery in emergency care, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should be able to get timely medical attention when you need it most.
“Every day we hear more and more devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.
“This cannot continue, the Welsh Labour Government must bring forward extra support to get ambulance services through winter as well as a long-term strategy to ensure people can get emergency care when they need it. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”
Ceredigion MS’ back striking Uni staff
LOCAL Plaid Cymru politicians stood in solidarity with striking university staff at the Senedd this week, as over 70,000 staff from over 150 universities across the UK undertook three days of striking action over attacks on pay, working conditions and pensions.
The strike, organised by the University and Colleges Union (UCU), was the biggest in the history of higher education, and saw protestors gather en masse in London and Cardiff, as well as picket lines on university campuses, including in Aberystwyth and Lampeter.
The strikes come after UCU members overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ to industrial action in September in two historic national ballots over attacks on pay and working conditions as well as pension cuts.
In September, Aberystwyth University, along with other employers, offered a standard three per cent pay increase. UCU’s demands, however, include a pay uplift of 12 per cent or Retail Price Index (RPI) plus two per cent, an agreed framework to eliminate insecure work practices such as zero hours contracts, and action to address dangerously high workloads.
The protest at the Senedd on Wednesday 30th November brought together a range of university staff, students and supporters, as well as many politicians.
Elin Jones, Member of the Senedd for Ceredigion said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to stand in solidarity with striking university staff. As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, it’s clear that the current pay offer to university staff does not go far enough, and many will struggle financially over coming months.
Whilst staff in Aberystwyth and Lampeter are working hard to deliver an exceptional experience for their students, more and more are struggling as a result of falling pay, pension uncertainty and insecure work.”
Cefin Campbell, Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales concluded:
“Universities’ roles as vital employers across Mid & West Wales cannot be understated. No-one – including the university staff – wants industrial action, however the fact that the strike took place indicates the strength of feeling and frustration within the sector. At this time of growing financial hardship, I stand with the UCU staff and hope their demands will be met by universities.”
Children’s Commissioner for Wales helps deliver powerful messages from children
ENCOURAGING safeguarding professionals and practitioners to engage with and listen to children and young people was at the heart of an event hosted by the Mid and West Wales Regional Safeguarding Board for children, as part of its National Safeguarding Week activities and program for 2022.
The event which took place on 18 November 18 at Parc-y–Scarlets stadium in Llanelli, was attended by professionals who play a key role in safeguarding children, including police officers, nurses, social care staff and education professionals, and by children and young people from across the region, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys.
A safeguarding training resource and animation developed and created by the Regional Safeguarding Board’s Junior Group CADW, was officially launched as part of the event, by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rocio Cifuentes.
The training resource designed to be used in all mandatory multi-agency safeguarding training across the region, gives powerful messages to professionals about what is important to children and young people when practitioners and professionals may need to intervene in their lives to support or protect them.
Jan Coles, Head of Children’s Services at Carmarthenshire Council, which led and facilitated the event of behalf of the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Board, said: “It is empowering and extremely inspiring for the children and young people from across our region to see so many safeguarding professionals and practitioners to support the fantastic work they have done.
“The messages in the animation are very powerful and we will take this forward as a regional safeguarding board and ensure they are embedded into core safeguarding practice.”
The resource as well as supplementary information and materials can be viewed here: www.cysur.wales/training/animation-training-resource/
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