British Union Argues Over Sick Pay

UNISON, the UK's largest union, has issued a challenge to public sector employers to “do the right thing” and give sick pay to all their workers.
The union is angry and frustrated that across the country, many contracted-out catering and cleaning workers in schools and hospitals are denied this basic right – at the same time as being paid at, or just above, the minimum wage. (WCxKit)
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary, noted, “It cannot be right that these massive multinational companies can make huge profits but still cheat workers out of basic terms like sick pay – it is enough to make anyone sick. Cleaners and dinner women in schools and hospitals are paid on or just above the minimum wage, and struggle to make ends meet. Many also struggle into work when they are sick, risking their own health and the health of people around them. This is particularly true in hospitals where vulnerable patients may be put at risk by catching infections.
 “UNISON is outraged at government plans to scrap the two-tier workforce code, which could see even more workers' rights sacrificed for company profits this year, sparking a race to the bottom. We want local authorities, hospitals and contractors to do the right thing and make a New Year resolution to pay all their staff sick pay. They must ward against this 19th century-style treatment, and make 2011 the year for fair treatment.”
Under current two-tier workforce code, new starters employed by contract companies are meant to get broadly comparable wages, terms and conditions as staff transferred across from the public sector. The code was developed to prevent private contractors making savings by driving down staff terms and conditions. (WCxKit)
However, earlier in December of 2010, the government announced it was to scrap the two-tier code. Together with the increasing push to sell services off to the lowest bidder, UNISON fears the moves will see increasing numbers of workers suffering cuts to terms and conditions, with sick pay at the top of the hit list.

Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See for more information.  Contact: or 860-553-6604.


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