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No confidence ballot ‘likely to go against Bryn Parry’, say unions

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backed brynTRADE UNIONS in Pembrokeshire, including UNISON, are continuing to mount the pressure on Pembrokeshire County Council’s chief executive, Bryn Parry-Jones, as the ballot over ‘no confidence’ in his abilities continues.

Vic Dennis, UNISON Branch Secretary, told The Herald: “Ballot papers went out to all our members in Pembrokeshire last week and the speed and size of response has been overwhelming.

“With days still to go we have already received over 500 responses and many members are on annual leave. The early indications are that the majority UNISON members employed by PCC will confirm that they have lost trust and confidence in their Chief Officer. We have never had such an immediate and overpowering response to a ballot on any other issue”
UNISON along with Unite and GMB are planning a major rally outside County Hall on Friday 8th support it. Vic Dennis added: “This is in direct response to calls from our respective membership to have their voices heard in relation to numerous failings in Pembrokeshire County Council. The continuing pension debacle is the last straw for our members, many of whom now say they are embarrassed to admit they work for PCC.
“The action is taking place at lunch time so members are at liberty to register their protest and we trust that no pressure is put on them not to walk out.”

“It is not only trade union members who welcome this opportunity to show their feelings but the community as a whole. We now ask them to join us on 8th at 12:30 to show their strength of feeling.”
On Friday, August 8 at 12:30 and many members have indicated that they will.
Last week union leaders said: “The Chief Executive has refused to repay and of the £45,000 pounds of pension payments he received directly to his bank account. In the meantime some of the lowest paid and hardest hit by the pay and grading review are suffering hardship whilst the appeals process drags on with no end in sight.”

“The joint unions are now planning to demonstrate their anger at a lunchtime protest on 8 August, similar to the action taken by employees of Caerphilly Council which highlighted the failings of their CEO”, they said.
Paul Miller, Labour leader on the Council, wrote to IPPG leader Jamie Adams when the news broke of the new investigation saying: “It would, in my view, seriously undermine public trust and the moral of the staff were Mr Parry-­Jones to continue in his position while these enquiries are undertaken.

“I appreciate that we have not seen eye to eye on this issue in the past (far from it) but I implore you now to show some courage and leadership. I implore you to break with the past and do what is right.

“Take the first step on what will admittedly be a very long journey, to restore some credibility and public trust to our local authority.”
The Herald asked for a copy of Councillor Adams’ reply to that letter, but we were told that he regarded his correspondence to the Council’s Labour leader as private.

The Council has declined to comment on the unions’ actions.

The Herald will be covering the protest with a live coverage on the newspapers website and Facebook feed.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Archie

    August 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I would love to attend and support the staff unfortunately I will be away, but if I was here I would join them. hope members of the public like myself will show their support. Good Luck, you will need it to get rid of Teflon man!

  2. Rockface

    August 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Some of the staff are scared to demonstrate outside county hall.

  3. anita d

    August 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    i would encourage as many of the general public as possible to go along

  4. tomos

    August 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Sorry to hear that Rockface but knowing what I know of his tricks and behaviour (folders “left” in cars, devious,nasty and spiteful in my humble opinion anyway) I can understand why some ppl will be scared after all look at Sue Thomas – indeed Jamie A is still spinning against her and for Bryn

  5. Becky Dyer

    August 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I used to work for PCC until 10 yrs ago and the culture was very concerning back then – failure was rewarded with promotion if your face fitted and no one above a certain grade was accountable. I now work for a very large English Local Authority and the difference is staggering. Our chief exec earns £100k a year less than BPJ and yet we consistently perform very well as a Local Authority. I attended a training session recently (I’m a Human Resources Advisor) and PCC was used as a bad example for safeguarding failings, HR policies, accountability and treatment of whistleblowers. I’m ashamed to put my 5 years at PCC on my CV for fear of being tainted by association. The senior exec needs shifting. New blood from OUTSIDE Pembrokeshire would be good. No more nepotism and blind eyes being turned. Time. For. Change. Pembrokeshire people deserve better!!

  6. Clive James aka clivebeca

    August 8, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I would still like to know who ‘the other Senior Officer’ is? Why is he/she being protected?
    There is surely a case very soon for either various departments of PCC being placed into Welsh Government Special Measures, OR the entire Council. Never thought I’d say it, but ‘Bring back Dyfed’ or a western version of Dyfed i.e. Pembrokeshire/Ceredigion. The redundancy bill for Senior Staff, would probably be very high, but perhaps it would get rid of ‘Deadwood’. Surely we need/deserve democratic accountability, but all for the good of the Residents/Tax payers not for Senior Officers earning more than the PM of the UK ??

  7. Tomos

    August 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Well clivebeca I agree 100% with you, I believe I remember someone posted the name on another local newspapers web site but it was taken down pretty quickly by the administrators, I think it was the HR director who retired , was it a Mr McC something?

    Has he had some sort of injunction, or is he so highly respected that both papers decided not to infringe on his private life now that he’s no longer part of the sordid gang. 🙁

    BPJ has taken a lot of flack but looking at all the things have gone wrong then I suggest he has a heck of a lot to answer for too!

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Welsh Ministers refuse to offer safeguards for Withybush A&E

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THE FIRST MINISTER and Health Minister of Wales are united in their decision not to offer any reassurances to the safeguarding of A&E services at Withybush Hospital.

With the recent u-turn of Cwm Taff health board not to remove services at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, the ministers have come under pressure to offer reassurances to the future of Withybush services.

The First Minister, Mark Drakeford has said the decision was down to local health boards, with Vaughan Gething, Health Minister taking a similar stance.

Speaking at a coronavirus briefing on Monday, July 6, when asked whether now as the time for the Welsh Government to encourage Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) to reverse it’s closure plans, Mr Drakeford said he would not encourage the health board to make a similar change.

Mr Drakeford said: “It is for the local health board to make those decisions, I feel like I have lived in this conversation over many years.”

“When I was health minister, I was repeatedly having to answer questions claiming that various parts of Withybush Hospital were about to be closed.

“They didn’t turn out to be true because the health board has an aim of sustaining as many services as can safely be provided at Withybush as in it’s other settings.”

In 2018, plans to withdraw A&E services from Withybush were announced as part of long term plans to downgrade Withybush to a community hospital.

Withybush has already seen the downgrade to its maternity services, with it now being a mostly day time service with expectant mums with pregnancy complications or those giving birth after 5pm mostly having to travel across the border into Carmarthenshire to give birth.

Mr Drakeford has said that HDUHB knew whether A&E services were necessary more than him.

Mr Drakeford added: “They are better placed than I am to know what the capability and the capacity of the services on the ground is, what demand that there is for it, and I know that they will talk very carefully with their local populations – as Cwm Taff health board did in the case of The Royal Glamorgan.”

Speaking at Plenary last Wednesday (Jul 8) Vaughan Gething, was asked by Pembrokeshire MS Paul Davies, the Welsh Government’s position on the delivery of A&E services at Pembrokeshire and if they would remain at Withybush.

Mr Davies said: “You’ll be aware, there is a strong campaign to retain A&E services at Withybush General Hospital.

“Given the recent news that Cwm Taff health board has decided to retain A&E services at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital, the people of Pembrokeshire are now looking at that decision and, quite rightly, asking for the same safeguards.”

The Health Minister said that the decision to overturn the removal of services at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, was due to a consultation by Cwm Taff health board after they were able to recruit more staff which would help them safely deliver that service.

Mr Gething said “The member will also know, over a long period of time, the challenges that have been faced in delivering healthcare across Wales and the plans for the future delivery of healthcare.”

He added “The health board is now planning for the continued provision of essential and key services alongside caring for patients affected by Covid-19.”

Mr Drakeford has also confirmed that a review has been carried out with regards to field hospitals, like Bluestone.

“The current thinking is that we will want to retain field hospital capacity here in Wales against the danger there is a second spike in the autumn or winter.

“But we may not need field hospital capacity on the scale that we produced it in this first wave.”

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Milford Waterfront ready to welcome back visitors

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MILFORD WATERFRONT says it is ready to welcome visitors back to eat, shop and enjoy. The Port said in a statement that businesses worked hard throughout the lockdown to ensure they were ready to welcome customers when restrictions were eased, with measures in place to keep people safe, including social distancing and sanitisation. Graphics have also been installed on location to help visitors maintain social distancing on site.

During the lockdown many businesses at Milford Waterfront adapted and continued offering services to customers, with takeaway options, as well as online ordering and delivery services. With the recent announcements from Welsh Government, retail businesses are starting to re-open to the public, and restaurants and cafés are preparing to offer outdoor, sit-down services. Health, beauty and wellbeing businesses are also preparing to re-open shortly.

Clare Stowell, Head of Commercial Development at Milford Waterfront commented: “It’s great to see so many more businesses re-opening after a long but necessary shutdown period. The safety of the business owners and their customers is of course a top priority, and we are looking forward to seeing visitors safely returning to Milford Waterfront again. It has been so positive to see so many businesses adapting throughout the lockdown, and we have seen how strong the community spirit is in Milford Haven during this time. We’re now ready, with social distancing guidance in place, so that businesses and visitors can make the most of the summer.”

More information on the businesses at Milford Waterfront can be found on: www.milfordwaterfront.co.uk, and information on businesses across Milford Haven can be found here. Milford Waterfront’s latest blog also details how businesses are planning on welcoming back visitors, and can be read by clicking here.

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21st Century School Project shortlisted for award

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ONE of Pembrokeshire County Council’s biggest construction projects to date has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The £38.3m project to build Ysgol Harri Tudur/ Henry Tudor School in Pembroke has been announced as a finalist in the Constructing Excellence in Wales’ ‘Buildings Project of the Year’ Award 2020.

The scheme was funded jointly by Pembrokeshire County Council and the Welsh Government as part of the 21st Century Schools & Colleges Programme.

When the building opened in September 2018, it represented the largest investment in the programme so far by the County Council which commissioned Bouygues UK to carry out the two-year building project.

Ysgol Harri Tudur/ Henry Tudor School replaced the old Pembroke School, providing education for more than 1,400 pupils and a 30-place autism centre.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the 21st Century Schools and Education programme, said: “We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for a CEW award, which are recognised across the Welsh construction environment as the most significant celebration of best practice.

“Ysgol Harri Tudur/ Henry Tudor School is an outstanding example of our successful 21st Century Schools & Colleges programme, which is continuing to create first-class learning environments for pupils across Pembrokeshire and enabling them to achieve better educational outcomes.”

The winners of the CEW Awards 2020 will be announced at a virtual ceremony in September.

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