Assembly Members who stay away from the Senedd because of a strike by workers should give up a day’s pay, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives has said.
Some Labour and Plaid Cymru members will not cross a picket line by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and as such, meetings have been rescheduled. The union is striking in a UK Government row over job losses, pay and pensions.
Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “Striking Assembly Members should consult their consciences very carefully and either give up their pay and pension contributions or donate them to charity.
“Other public sector workers will lose a day’s pay for joining the picket line and it is unfair, greedy and hypocritical for Assembly Members to keep theirs.
“I remain hopeful that Labour and Plaid Members will still decide to come to work and debate issues of national importance in the Assembly.
“As Carwyn Jones’s reshuffle highlighted last week – the NHS in Wales is failing and needs a fresh approach. Labour’s record-breaking budget cuts are heaping untold pressure on frontline staff and the views of communities across the country are being completely ignored in the reconfiguration process.
“On education, the economy, poverty, and health – Carwyn Jones’s government is failing. It needs an urgent rethink of policy and much more emphasis on localism and the empowerment of communities right across the country.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Ministers will be undertaking government engagements and dealing with any matters that arise throughout the day but will not be crossing picket lines.”
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: “The UK Government is wrong to be punishing workers for the financial mess they and the previous Labour Government has caused.?
“The withdrawal of labour by workers and the loss of a day’s pay are never taken lightly so this clearly demonstrates the depth of anger by ordinary people who have already conceded much in the way of pay and conditions in recent years.
“Clearly they have decided that enough is enough. Having been the chair of the Assembly’s cross-party PCS group I understand the level of anger from workers and they have my full sympathy and support.
“Most of today’s plenary activity was shifted to the previous day.? Meetings I had planned for my office at the National Assembly building in Cardiff Bay today have been re-located as I will not cross the picket line.”??