Changes to Government guidance on self-isolation

Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/403/21
5th November 2021
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Your National Executive Committee (NEC) met on 4th November 2021 to discuss a report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee relating to correspondence received from RICF (Rail Industry Corona Forum). Following my request for clarification as to RICF instructions to rail employers in relation to whether Covid-19 related sickness absences will count towards MFA (Management for Attendance) trigger points.

The report adopted by the NEC is as follows:

The General Secretary is instructed to respond to Andy Meadows to thank him for his correspondence, but to note that it is not appropriate that employers apply their discretion in circumstances where individuals need to self-isolate and/or to apply managers discretion to those who test positive for the coronanvirus.

If health and attendance “conversations” need to take place they can do so outside of the MFA procedure.

The General Secretary to explain that he is concerned to learn that the industry will be moving towards a return to “normal” as regards sickness management process with Covid-19 absences being treated similarly to other illnesses. We are particularly concerned about this as Health Secretary, Savid Javid, said recently that Covid-19 cases could soon rise to 100,000 a day, indeed we currently have the highest infection rated in the world. Rail workers are at the front line of this pandemic and should not have to worry about the possibility of being put through MFA if they need to self-isolate – or so concerned about being put on this procedure that they come into work.

We need clarity on this issue and not fear, particularly as respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu are likely to be very high this winter and again RMT members will be vulnerable to these infections given the nature of their work.

RMT are seeking the following:

For MFA not to apply to any Covid-19 related issue, for example those with Covid symptoms, those required to self-isolate, those who need to self-isolate due to having received a positive PCR test and those experiencing side effects from the vaccine, and or the booster vaccine.

Additionally, RMT demand that any absences relating the above are paid in full – as well as being exempt from MFA.

Branches and Regional Councils to make members aware of guidance from the Welsh Government which has changed recently as regards self-isolation, more information can be found here:

Additionally, the General Secretary is instructed to write to all companies operating in Wales seeking assurance that the new measures in Wales will have no detrimental effect on our members who live in Wales.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised accordingly.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary