Sickness Schemes Under Attack in Colleges

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2013 Local Government Service Group Conference
18 February 2013

This Conference condemns the action of the Association of Colleges (AoC) in withdrawing from the national Joint Agreement on Guidelines on Sick Leave in Further Education Colleges, which was agreed in 2000. The action was taken in the face of strong opposition by the trade union side and against a background of falling sickness absence in the sector. The six further education unions issued a joint statement warning that this action would lead to sickness presenteeism, endangering staff and students; would drive seriously ill staff into poverty and impact disproportionately on women and disabled staff. The statement also committed the unions to a joint campaign and co-ordinated industrial action where any college employer chose to follow the AoC’s lead and to introduce an inferior sickness scheme.

This Conference commits its support to college members who are facing this and other attacks on conditions of service. It also recognises that other groups of members across its sectors and different employers will be facing similar threats. In response, the Service Group Executive is called upon to:

1)Support college colleagues in their campaign to resist attacks on sickness schemes and other conditions of service;

2)Issue advice to branches on how to respond to these attacks;

3)Ask branches to monitor colleges that are faced with worsening conditions of service and UNISON’s response and report at regional and national level;

4)Use this issue as an opportunity to recruit and organise in the college sector to build strength and resistance against unscrupulous employers in the sector.