MANAGERS’ UPDATE: RECOGNISING GOOD ATTENDANCE

MANAGERS’ UPDATE: RECOGNISING GOOD ATTENDANCE
Dear Colleagues,
I attach a document issued by Royal Mail to its managers entitled “Recognising good attendance” dated 16th December, received at head office from representatives in the field on 19th December.
Contrary to the claim in the document the CWU was not briefed on the scheme nor was the union consulted on the attached document. The union was informed that Royal Mail intended to run an incentive scheme in the form of a prize draw. Last Friday, clearly after the attached brief had been drawn up and after copies of the December edition of The Courier which contains details of the scheme had gone to print, we were advised that the business intended to brief employees this week – no details of the scheme were shared.
The union is opposed to any scheme which encourages members to attend work when they are not well enough to do so, or penalises people for being ill. We believe the scheme is an ill thought out, knee jerk return to the policies of a decade ago. It is extremely disappointing that the business has reverted to an unimaginative and self-defeating approach to the management of attendance which seeks to bypass the union.
According to “The Courier” the intention is to “reinforce the message that our people have a vital part to play every day in delivering a great service to our customers”. Our members don’t need patronising messages of this kind, particularly at this time of year. Whatever the intention of the scheme, in reality, it will act as a further signal to managers that they must “get tough” on sickness absence.
Over the last 18 months the union has received an increasing number of reports from all parts of Royal Mail of aggressive and bullying misapplication of the Attendance Procedure – in particular:
 
Abuse of contact strategy

Routine issue of stage reviews regardless of circumstances

Threatened or actual stoppage of pay for alleged “non-cooperation”

Counting absences arising from accidents on duty or disability

Sacking people with an underlying health condition – in some cases when they were attending work regularly

 
Despite this return to the sort of management behaviours in evidence before the introduction of the 2013 Attendance agreement, the level of sickness absence has continued to increase. The union has called for a joint and root and branch analysis of the underlying causes of this increase, which has taken place over the same period in which the number of reported bullying and harassment cases has increased by 52% and significant concerns about reasonable workload and aggressive management have been reported by staff in the company’s “Big Conversation” employee opinion exercise. Royal Mail has agreed to meet to discuss this in January. The union will positively engage to improve workplace morale and address some of the issues which we believe are driving the increase in sickness absence. This half-baked panic measure will not help. Branches should ensure that the Grievance Procedure and Industrial Relations Framework are used if managers abuse the contact strategy (the terms of which were jointly summarised by CWU and Royal Mail in LTB 691/2016) or if any of the other aggressive management behaviours and breaches of the Attendance Procedure listed in the bullet points above are encountered.
All enquiries regarding the content of this LTB should be addressed to the PTCS Department, quoting reference 415.
Yours Sincerely,
RAY ELLIS
ASSISTANT SECRETARY 
 
Attachment can be found in the attached LTB.
Email Attachments – Click to download
· LTB 751/16 – Managers’ Update: Recognising Good Attendance

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