Housing workers forced to use foodbanks while bosses enjoy major pay rise says UNISON

Rosie Lewis
Pictured: UNISON Cymru/Wales regional organiser Rosie Lewis

Housing workers in Cwmbran are being forced to use foodbanks to survive while bosses are receiving a £6,000 pay rise, says UNISON.

Staff at social enterprise Bron Afon Community Housing have had a below inflation pay rise imposed upon them and some say they are now relying on food banks to support their families.

At the same time, the chief executive will see his annual salary rise by £6,450 to £135,450 if the latest pay deal is forced through.

UNISON Cymru/Wales, the public services union representing workers at Bron Afon, is organising a demonstration outside the headquarters of Bron Afon in Cwmbran on Thursday (September 28) after yet another below inflation pay award of 5% or £1,921 was imposed on the workforce.

The union had been in negotiations with Bron Afon but bosses recently withdrew a pay offer in favour of one that sees the highest paid reap more than the rest of the staff.

Employees had already rejected a 5.3% offer, this was raised to 6.5% but later withdrawn with a further offer of a flat £2,032 increase on all grades.

This was then removed and Bron Afon is imposing the latest offer, which for many will mean over £100 less in their annual pay award than the offer UNISON and GMB had accepted – all so those in senior positions can give themselves even bigger pay rises.

A Bron Afon worker said: “I feel embarrassed that I am working but have had to go to the food bank a couple of times to feed my family.

“Food gas electric and petrol are all increasing weekly – but my wages aren’t keeping up.

“If chief executives and directors of other companies are happy to accept the same amount across the board why can’t Bron Afon do this.”

UNISON Cymru/Wales regional organiser Rosie Lewis (pictured above) said: “The workers at Bron Afon provide a vital service in their community and it is appalling that some are now being forced to use foodbanks while bosses at the business are receiving a huge boost to their salaries.

“The workers we represent are helping the most vulnerable in our community and they must get the pay they deserve.

“UNISON and the GMB union have been negotiating on this with Bron Afon for some time and it is completely unacceptable that the pay we agreed will not reach the pockets of those who need it the most.”

  • UNISON and the GMB union are holding a demonstration over the pay dispute at Bron Afon on Thursday September 28 outside the Bron Afon Housing Association on Llantarnum Way in Cwmbran from 4pm to 6pm.