The COVID-19 pandemic represents the greatest crisis that the UK and many other countries have faced for decades. It has had serious repercussions for people’s safety and security at work, as well as for their general health and wellbeing, and has caused considerable anxiety for our members.
Throughout the crisis, PCS has been in constant contact with government and employers at all levels, doing our best to ensure that our members’ health and safety are protected and that they do not suffer any detriment as a result of the changes necessary to respond to the virus.
In Wales, we have liaised, alongside other unions, with the Welsh Government and other employers via the Wales TUC and the Trade Union Sides of individual organisations, including the Welsh Government and Senedd Commission.
The Welsh Government and Wales TUC recently published a joint statement on the COVID-19 crisis in which they set out the way in which they expect workers in Wales to be treated, including:
- No worker should be financially penalised by their employer for following medical advice. Any absence from work relating to coronavirus should not affect future sick pay entitlement, result in disciplinary action or count towards any future sickness absence-related action.
- Employers should consider temporary arrangements for paid leave for caring responsibilities that are additional to current leave entitlements.
- It should be the norm to be able to work from home wherever possible. Employers should be as supportive and flexible as they can, given the exceptional strains that will be placed on some workers. Rules need to flex to allow those with caring responsibilities to carry on working.
The statement goes on to say that, “As an employer, the Welsh Government is modelling this behaviour and commits to working with social partners during this crisis in a constructive way. This sets our expectations for the approach to be taken by employers across Wales.”
Our experience of the action taken so far by the Welsh Government, Senedd Commission and other devolved Welsh employers has been broadly consistent with this approach but any PCS members concerned about their own circumstances should get in touch via the Welsh Government and National Assembly Group contacts listed in this section or via the coronavirus response centre.
About the group
The group represents members in Wales’ devolved government, both within the Welsh Government and the Senedd Commission. We represent members across Wales, from Cardiff Bay in the south to Llandudno Junction in the north and and Aberystwyth in the west, along with members working in Welsh Governmnet offices in Brussels.
The group is the umbrella body for five branches:
- North Wales
- Mid and West Wales
- South Wales
- Senedd Commission
We take the lead on developing strategies and campaigns to improve pay, terms and conditions and to ensure job security.
The group consists of elected officers and branch representatives with a GEC that meets four times a year and group officers who meet up to 12 times a year.
We develop an annual plan, setting out key priorities and targets for branches to deliver on behalf of our members.