AN Antrim councillor has welcomed confirmation that council employees can be furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme.
SDLP Dunsilly rep Ryan Wilson said: “I welcome this long-awaited confirmation that council employees can apply for the furlough scheme.
“In my own council area of Antrim and Newtownabbey, I deeply regret the distress and anxiety this will have caused for our council staff, 73 of them who heard in the press they may be made redundant.
“While it is welcome this will not be the case, we need to seriously reevaluate the way in which we treat our workers.
“While we entirely accept the need for councils to be financially sustainable in a challenging context, it was never going to be acceptable for the SDLP to support making 73 workers redundant in the midst of a global pandemic.
“It is disappointing that other supposed progressive parties did not join our efforts from the outset.”
“Nevertheless, it is welcome we have reached a resolution that protects our valued workers. The only outstanding issue is in relation to agency workers and I encourage everyone to continue to engage and ensure these workers are protected.”
There was uproar last week when it emerged that over 70 ‘non essential’ workers faced being laid off.
For the full story, see pages 1 and 3 of this week’s Antrim Guardian.