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STRIKE OVER 'HARSHEST IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT' SICKNESS PROCEDURE

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Staff at Tower Hamlets LBC will strike next Tuesday 7 February. This follows a 75% YES vote in a ballot of Unison m...
Staff at Tower Hamlets LBC will strike next Tuesday 7 February. This follows a 75% YES vote in a ballot of Unison members. They are protesting about the council's sickness procedure which they believe is amongst the harshest anywhere in local government.

All council services are expected to be affected, except schools which still operate their own sickness procedures.

Under the procedure, brought in last September, staff have to call in every day they are sick to a call centre with non medically trained staff once they hit a five day trigger point, as well as calling their own manager. For the first five days they have to ring in every day.

The council had threatened to make staff get doctor's certificates for every day off, but had to drop this after protests from doctors. They had also wanted to stop sick pay for the first three days of each absence and to cut leave for long term sick, proposals to which they have said they may return.

'Staff are sick of the council's bullying approach' said Unison branch secretary Jean Geldart. 'They introduced the call centre with no consultation, and despite our efforts to get meaningful negotiations they have just ploughed ahead'.

To make matters worse the council is now talking about making cuts to their own human resources and occupational health services whilst spending£100,000 plus per year on the call centre contract.

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