Coronavirus - Covid-19 - Network Rail

Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/125/22
19th May 2022
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,



Your Wakefield and Healey Mills Branch submitted the following resolution:

Wakefield and Healey Mills branch has real concerns about the advice that Network Rail is now giving to staff in relation to COVID-19. It is our belief that this advice not only places our members at risk, but it is also confusing and cannot be followed.

There are also concerns that the latest company position may lead to our members being dealt with under the company Managing for Attendance/Managing for Health policies, which could ultimately see them dismissed.

In the latest Network Rail advice, this states that ‘absences following 1 May 2022 may be included in MFA/MFH procedures’.

For those who have the virus, Network Rail has issued and instruction that staff should remain at home for 5 days and avoid contact with anyone who is high risk for 10 days. It is the understanding of this branch that, in many instances Network Rail does not know which of their employees are ‘high risk’. Furthermore, as this information is not disclosed to others, nobody would be in a position to understand whether they would be safe to return to work after 5 days as they may not know which members of their team are high risk.

As Network Rail now have no procedures in place to apply additional control measures for those who are at high risk, this places anyone in this category at greater risk and leaves them exposed. This branch believes that there should continue to be controls in place for workers who are high risk such as the ability to continue to apply social distancing, whereby the have sole or use of a vehicle or segregated access, and considerations are made to find alternative work where social distancing cannot be maintained.

We believe that it is right that those who have the virus should stay at home until it is safe to return to the workplace, but we believe that it is unacceptable that, after being told that they must stay at home, they will then face an MFA/MFH process that could see some being dismissed.

It is the view of this branch that we cannot accept this situation and we ask the National Executive Committee to consider these issues and instruct the General Secretary to write to Network Rail seeking an urgent meeting to discuss these concerns.

Your National Executive Committee (NEC), at its meeting on 19th May, resolved as follows:

We note the resolution of our Wakefield & Healey Mills branch.

This National Executive committee fully concurs with the concerns expressed within the resolution.

This trade union will not tolerate our members facing potential punitive sanctions for following company advice, nor will we accept any practices which place or high-risk members in jeopardy.

The General Secretary is therefore instructed to take up this matter in line with the resolution.

Relevant branched and regional councils to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions.

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

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary