Date: 2 November 2007
UNISON condemns 'Dickensian' attitude of Health Board
UNISON, the health service union, has reacted angrily to a recent
paper discussed by managers in NHS Glasgow and Clyde which advises
managers to issue sick staff with final written warnings.
Regional Organiser Matt McLaughlin said, "Yet again NHS Glasgow
and Clyde have managed to infuriate staff and trade unions with
their aggressive and narrow minded approach to managing staff and
dealing with workplace issues. We would expect a reasonable employer
to be proactive about sickness at work and look at issues such as
staffing levels, working practices, improved training and support
for staff rather than simply adopting a blanket approach which will
put hard worked staff under even more pressure."
"UNISON appreciates that employers need to manage sickness absence
and that sometimes this might result in some staff being disciplined.
However this latest attack on hard working staff by NHSGGC is disgraceful.
It is clear from these proposals staff who are injured at work or
are terminally ill will be given final written warnings and could
be sacked. NHS Glasgow and Clyde might claim to be in pursuit of
21 Century health care but they seem hell bent on adopting employment
practices which would be easily recognisable to Charles Dickens."
UNISON is calling for an urgent meeting with NHS employers to
discuss their approach in a bid to "bring some humanity and common
sense to the issue."
[Notes to the Editor - The comments are made in a paper
written by Associate Dir of HR Anne McPherson headed - NHS GREATER
GLASGOW & CLYDE, ACUTE DIVISION,ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT - for example
"15. We must consider a more robust use of Trigger Points in dealing
with attendance management issues. The points should not simply
trigger a management intervention but lead to formal action with
a view to securing improvement. The following option is firmer than
our normal action and requires exploring at OMG.
"16. To this end, any employee who has more than two episodes of
sickness absence, or more than eight days short term absence, within
a six month period should receive a formal warning. This warning
should make clear the effect that such absences have on the workload
of other colleagues within the department concerned, have a set
review date, make explicit the need for a significant and sustained
improvement in the individual's attendance over the review period
and advise that failure to deliver this significant and sustained
improvement will lead to further formal action which may ultimately
lead to dismissal.
17. An employee on long-term sick leave, i.e. for a period of 28
days or more, should similarly receive a formal warning. Again,
this warning should make clear the effect that such absences have
on the workload of other colleagues within the department concerned,
have a set review date, make explicit the need for a significant
and sustained improvement in the individual's attendance over the
review period and advise that failure to deliver this significant
and sustained improvement will lead to further formal action which
may ultimately lead to dismissal.
18. If this approach is to have the desired effect, it has to be
implemented consistently across the organisation i.e. all employees,
regardless of position or reason(s) for absence, must be issued
with a formal warning as set out above. In this way, all employees
will be treated equally. This is essential to the fair and consistent
treatment of employees and thus will be in accordance with the Staff
19. The above approach whilst effective will be seen as draconian
by the staff side and is also likely to pick up employees with serious
illness e.g. terminal illness." ]
For Further Information Please Contact: Matt McLaughlin
(Regional Organiser) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07904341979 Chris Bartter
(Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)