Covid-19 Absence Arrangements – South Eastern Trains LTD

Our ref: HSR/1/3

Head Office Circular: NP/472/21

24th December 2021

To: The Secretary




Dear Colleague,




I write to inform you that your National Executive Committee (NEC) met on 23rd December 2021 to consider a report from its Health and Safety sub-committee, from when it met to consider correspondence received from the Lead Officer in relation to South East Trains approach to the unvaccinated if they need to self-isolate. 


The report adopted by the NEC is as follows:


We note the correspondence from the Assistant General Secretary in relation to South East Trains’ decision to withhold company sick pay from those who have not been vaccinated if they have to isolate, and to include their absence from work during this period in the management of attendance procedure.


In relation to this we note correspondence from the RICF to RMT, dated 1st December 2021 in which they confirm that:


“If an employee develops Covid-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccine status, they must self-isolate and take a PCR test until the result is known in line with current Government guidance. In the event, that the employee tests positive then Company Sick Pay would be payable.


In respect of the above Covid-19 related absences, any reference to MFA would be solely for the management of that absence and the wellbeing of the employee allowing any important health and related attendance conversations to take place. As such these absences should be excluded from being recorded within any MFA monitoring process”.


In relation to the unvaccinated who have been in close contact with someone who has since tested positive and therefore needs to isolate, the General Secretary is instructed to write to both the RICF and South East Trains, to explain that although our position is to encourage all members who can to get their vaccines and booster jabs when made available to them, we believe that the best approach to encouraging uptake is through education and support, rather than by using draconian measures, as adopted by South East Trains, to try to enforce this - an approach which puts us all at risk. 


The General Secretary is also instructed, in his correspondence to the RICF and South East Trains, to demand that this position is reversed. 


The General Secretary is further instructed to demand to the RICF that sub- contractor staff, such as cleaners and caterers, will receive company sick pay which will be funded by client companies.


Branches and Regional Councils to be informed accordingly.


I am acting in line with this decision. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.


Yours sincerely




Michael Lynch

General Secretary