Covid-19 and us

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Thu, 12/03/2020 - 13:52,

In the midst of what is now officially a pandemic, it's unsurprising that Covid-19 and its impacts are dominating discussion on the job.

LU has agreed that anyone self-isolating with no symptoms will be categorised as on special leave, rather than off sick. Anecdotally, local managers seem to be recording people who are self-isolating with symptoms as unavailable, or on special leave, rather than "off sick" too. That's positive, as a categorisation of "sick" could lead to people being penalised.

For example, we all know stories of managers using the ambiguity in the sick pay policy (which says that, for those with less than a year's service, company sick pay can be paid for nine weeks at managerial discretion) to get away without paying. Will newer staff be financially punished if they develop symptoms? There needs to be a clear and consistent policy across the board: all staff, regardless of length of service, must be paid full company sick pay from day one of absence/isolation. Under no circumstances should any Covid-related absence be counted as an "item" for the purposes of the attendance and discipline policies.

Questions have been asked about whether LU/TfL are taking sufficient precautions, given that Palestra remains open despite the confirmation of a case of the virus there. As the pandemic continues, shutting down large office buildings must be considered.

Sadiq Khan had a photo-op at London Bridge station to announce the fact that ABM cleaners had been given new anti-viral chemicals to disinfect station surfaces. Great... but why has it taken so long to implement this? And how are ABM staff meant to cope with a new cleaning regime and increase workload when their numbers have been slashed? ABM has no company sick pay scheme, meaning any ABM cleaner who develops symptoms or needs to self-isolate will only receive Statutory Sick Pay; far from enough to live on. Company sick pay needs to be extended to all workers on LU, directly-employed and outsourced.

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