Unions slam decision to withhold sick pay in NHS Trust

5 Oct 2018 10:48 AM

The Royal College of Nursing, UNISON, Unite, CSP, GMB and RCM have called a decision by Medway NHS Foundation Trust an appalling insult to staff.

The Trust has told the trade unions that the national terms and conditions around sick pay will be scrapped and harsh new conditions will be imposed.  This includes withholding sick pay for the first three days of absence and thereafter every other month would be half pay. The Trust has also said that staff who do not have the flu jab will be refused sick pay should they fall ill with flu.

Daniel Heppell, RCN Officer for Kent says: “This decision beggars belief. At a time when the Trust needs to urgently recruit new nursing staff, changing the national terms and conditions to something significantly worse than that of neighbouring employers is naïve and simply not thought through.

“We have made it clear to the employer that we will fight this plan and urge them to really think about the impact this will have on staff who are already stretched to breaking point. Nurses are human too and will get inevitably get ill.”

Patt Taylor, Regional Officer with the physiotherapy union CSP said: “These proposals defy not only logic, but the approach towards staff health and wellbeing that the NHS is looking to take on a national level.

‘Elsewhere in the NHS, trusts are investing in schemes that help to keep staff healthy and treating patients, which in turn cuts sickness absence costs and reduces waiting times.

‘These proposals, on the other hand, will encourage people to work when they are clearly unwell, increasing the chances of a longer sickness absence as a result and greater costs to the trusts.

‘Local residents will rightly be asking whether they really want to be treated by someone who is sick.’

Jacqui Berry, UNISON NEC member says“The Trust are proposing short sighted austerity measures in an attempt to reduce their financial deficit.”……..

Graeme Hendry UNISON rep and Staff Side Chair at Medway NHS Foundation Trust added: “ We are not prepared to accept any proposal which penalises staff for being unwell. Hardworking staff are the backbone of the Trust, providing patient care under extremely difficult conditions.”

Unite Regional Officer Kathy Walters said of the move:  “It’s time call out this despicable move by Medway NHS Foundation Trust as yet another kick in the teeth for hard working, low paid NHS staff.  This change will literally take money out of the pockets of those who we rely on to provide care for patients as well as putting patient safety at risk.  We wholly oppose any such detrimental move away from nationally agreed NHS Terms and Conditions on sick pay and view this attack with contempt.”

Unite Regional Officer Kathy Walters 07568108140 kathy.walters@unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org