Sickness reporting - Virgin West Coast
RMT Circular No. IR. 289/06: December 20 2006
Procedures for staff unable to take duty due to illness (sickness reporting) - Virgin West Coast
Further to my circular dated 14 December 2006, I have received correspondence from FirstCare, an absence reporting service offered by Health and Absence limited, which sets out various assurances in relation to the service to be provided on behalf of Virgin West Country as follows:
(i) Only qualified registered nurses will discuss medical matters with covered employees when they call to discuss their absence;
(ii) FirstCare will only call absent employees when the employee chooses to receive the call, or if the absence has gone past its estimated return to work and the employee has not made contact with FirstCare to update them;
(iii) When the employee chooses to receive a call during their absence from work, the primary purpose is to provide medical advice and support and is made by the qualified nurses employed at FirstCare to ensure that the employee has access to all the services they need to speed up their recovery to good health;
(iv) No medical information will be disclosed to Virgin West Coast without specific consent from the employee concerned. The only exception to this is where there is a safety critical exception; and
(v) FirstCare staff will not use language which may be perceived as threatening and no policy to the contrary exists.
In the light of these clarifications and assurances, I have caused the following circulars: Virgin West Coast - Ballot for Industrial Action, RMT November 21st 2006 and Don't Phone FirstCare RMT Circular IR 277/06 12th December 2006 to be removed from the relevant RMT websites and their contents are not to be repeated.
As you know, the Union remains in dispute with Virgin West Coast over the introduction of the new sickness absence monitoring policy.
I am delighted to report that members have voted massively in favour of taking Industrial Action short of a strike. 294 voted YES in favour of taking Industrial Action with only 24 voting against. There were no spoiled papers.
The General Grades Committee has decided to use the ballot result and have called for Industrial Action to commence as the law permits.
Virgin West Coast members who are booking office, on train catering and station staff grades are therefore instructed not to comply with the imposed procedure with effect from 00.01 hoours on Friday 15th December 2006 until further notice. This is continuous Industrial Action.
In the event the members need to call in sick, they have been advised to phone whoever it was they would have normally contacted prior to the new procedure being imposed. Whatever the case they must ensure that their Line Manager or appropriate person with authority is informed. They have been further informed that in the event of anybody giving them any grief, to inform them that they are taking official Industrial Action.
Please bring this to the attention of any members of your Branch employed by Virgin West Coast. I congratulate our members for their magnificent response and I have informed the Company that RMT remains available for talks.