Cllr Matthew Dorrance
Cllr Matthew Dorrance

The Leader of Labour Councillors in Powys and a senior official at the GMB Trade Union have hit back at the County Council’s Conservative Cabinet Member for HR after he blamed an 11.6% rise in stress related absences on the Welsh Government.

A Freedom of Information request made by the Conservative Party found that in Powys County Council, which is run by a coalition of Conservative and Independent Councillors, staff absences because of stress have increased 11.6% from 2016/17 to 2018/19.

Labour Group Leader Cllr Matthew Dorrance said:

“I want to thank our dedicated Council staff for their professionalism and I want them to know that they are valued.

“The massive rise in stress related staff absences shows up the toxic culture the Conservative and Independent Cabinet have created in County Hall.

“Instead of playing the blame game and trying to dodge any responsibility, the Cabinet Member for HR should apologise to Council workers, take ownership for his mistakes and work with Trade Unions and staff to put things right.”

Mike Payne, GMB Senior Organiser for Welsh Public Services said:

“Typical Tories once again trying to find an opportunity to deflect from their own failings. To blame the Welsh Government for funding cuts when it is the Tories in Westminster who have cut the Welsh Block grant by £1.8 billion is shameful.

“Pressure on staff in Powys is exacerbated by an inefficient administration that has had to take back in house services that have failed because of an outdated and failed privatisation ideology.

“The answer if they are prepared to listen is to invest in staff, value their contributions, and start to accept the blame for their own political failings instead of criticising staff who work 365 days of the year to provide the people of Powys with the best services possible, despite Tory cuts.”

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