Governments Living with Covid strategy and impact on workplace risk assessments and management for attendance

Our ref: HSR/1/3

Head Office Circular: NP/128/22

26th May 2022

To: The Secretary




Dear Colleague,




I write further to Head Office Circular NP/115/22, dated 10th May 2022, in which I reported that the Chairman of the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum (RICF) had written to me explaining that, following the implementation of updated guidance changes in its “Living with Covid-19” document (as attached), all other previously issued RICF guidance would be withdrawn from 1st May 2022 and that the RICF would be formally disbanded from 1st June 2022 - and that as part of these changes Covid-19 absences would now be record for MFA (Management for Attendance) purposes from 1st May 2022.


Your National Executive Committee (NEC), at its meeting on 24th May 2022, noted and adopted the report below, from when its Health and Safety sub-committee met to discuss correspondence I had received from Regional Organisers, relating to both the intention of several Train Companies to include Covid-19 sickness absence in for MFA purposes and requesting a benchmark guide document to use when discussing with employers the impact of disbanding RICF and the Governments “Living with Covid” strategy.


We instruct the GS to write to all employers covered by RICF to demand that:


  • any changes to the current Covid-19 arrangements will need to be risk assessed before any changes are proposed
  • that if an individual provides a positive LTF/PCR test this will not count towards MFA procedure


The General Secretary to explain to any company that progresses a member in the MFA process for Covid-19 sickness absence, where that member has provided proof of a positive Covid result, that this may lead to a dispute with RMT. 


Additionally, the General Secretary to develop a guide document, focusing on risk assessment, for Regional Organisers and H&S Reps to use in discussions with the employer following the disbanding of the RICF. 


I am acting in accordance with these instructions.


Attached, for your or your information, is the guide document for Regional Organisers and Health and Safety reps as well as the RICF guide “Living with Covid”. 


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


Yours sincerely



Michael Lynch, 

General Secretary