“You make me sick!” / “There is nothing good about this proposal!”

At yesterday’s meeting, incredibly, senior management have confirmed they are going to reintroduce ‘sickness absence’ for redundancy selection for staff in IT and Media.
No, this is not a sick joke, it is real (see page 67 of the ISS outcome report – *London Met Uni staff only*).

Last year we noted during the start of term for IT and media (ISS), there were extremely high levels of sick absence and stress related illness (30% of IT and media support were off sick in September). We pointed to last year’s botched restructure as the cause and their failure to carry out a robust stress risk assessment for front line support staff (a legal requirement).

A collective grievance against a culture of bullying was then initiated by UNISON members, which over 40 staff members signed.

So their solution to the bullied complaining of stressful working conditions? Add ‘sickness absence’ to the redundancy selection criteria – brilliant!
That’s what they call: “Managing out the disengaged”.
First they came for staff in ISS …
If we allow it to happen in ISS, it could happen anywhere else. The Director of Human Remains (HR) have agreed to them go ahead: HR say there is nothing they can do to stop them because the unions won’t agree on how to make compulsory redundancies. Genius! Oh wait, actually, this is disingenuous.
Those poor souls who’ve been here since before 2009 will remember management used sickness absence that terrible year to decide who should be sacked among the 550 original jobs blood bath.
UNISON and UCU strongly objected to this, and eventually HR agreed to remove this unfair element. So we have not agreed to a redundancy selection criteria for compulsories but we have agreed on what should definitely be removed.
So why on earth would they decide to turn back the clock to this offensive practice? It must be about trust – they simply don’t trust their staff or believe they are really ill.
Nobody agrees this is a good idea:
We asked the ISS all-hands meeting who thinks it was a good idea, or a fair proposal? Not a single person put their hands up, unsurprisingly. Maybe the person who proposed it was off sick.
What about disability discrimination?
Staff who have had ‘disability-related sickness absence’, will be able to have that discounted from the record, say HR. That’s alright then!
Hold on: we all know that HR do not have that data on record. And besides, this requires staff members to disclose very personal information to a very macho, male dominated senior management.
So two examples: cancer or depression are both considered disabilities. Both have stigma attached to them and both are treatable. So there should be no need to have to explain why you are having regular check ups or treatment.
What about contagious diseases?
ISS, by promoting this ill-thought through proposal, are forcing staff who are unfortunate to catch a contagious illness to come in to work and spread their diseases among the rest of us who are not (yet) ill. So we can justifiably say to the management team of ISS, due to their policies: “You make me sick”!
David Hardman, Health and Safety Officer of the UCU, who berated senior management over this in support of UNISON, who have vigorously objected already directly to ISS:
“There is nothing good about this proposal!”
UNISON and UCU have called a strike for 4th June.
All members, whether they are off sick or otherwise, should refuse to work at all that day.
Please all come to the meetings to discuss how to make this strike a success:
UNISON / UCU members meetings:
Tues, 2nd June 2015
1pm – 2pm
Tower, Room TM1-44
Wed, 3rd June 2015
1pm – 2pm
Calcutta House, CM109
And if you see the senior management team of ISS, remember to tell them, because it’s literally true:
“You make me sick!”
There’s an App for that!
– But wait, it’s ok, because there is a new London Met ‘App’ for stress! Oh phew, we’re saved! …

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