Attendance Management Process and Company Sick Pay – Stena Line

Our Ref: SH/5/9
6th January 2021


Dear Colleagues

Attendance Management Process and Company Sick Pay – Stena Line

Further to my letter dated 23rd December 2020, I am writing to advise you that following this union’s rejection of the revised company sick pay arrangements, Stena Line has proposed the following amendments to new procedure:-

1. There will be an SSP sick pay provision for the first 7 days of absence. The company does reserve the right to use the 3 ‘waiting days’ as per CBA/Contracts of Employment but will notify the union if this was to be implemented. Anyone with less than one years service will only be entitled to SSP from week 1 to week 52.
2. COVID-19 Payment: Any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test result from one of the UK or Irelands National Test Centres (PCR test) will receive a CSP payment equivalent to 75% of their normal full pay for up to 16 weeks’. Should an absence last for longer than 16 weeks, SSP will be payable for the duration. This provision will be the same for all permanent core staff, regardless of their length of service with the company.
3. The COVID-19 Payments will remain in place up until 31 March 2021 and will then be subject to review. An earlier review may be required should absence levels spike significantly or should there be a further change in the company’s commercial operations or financial position.
4. Any employee that receives a positive antigen test on-board or at home and subsequently receives a negative PCR test, will return to work immediately and will receive full pay (100%) for the period between the antigen test and their return to work, unless they are defined as a close contact and are required in compliance with Governments’ legislative or regulatory requirements to self-isolate. Self-isolation/quarantine payments are outlined below.
5. Any employees required to self-isolate or quarantine in accordance with Governments’ legislative or regulatory requirements will not be regarded by the company as being sick, will remain on SSP as per the Governments guidelines on payments for COVID-19 and outwith the sick pay provisions.
6. Employees that have tested positive prior to 28 December 2020 from a COVID-19 PCR approved test centre from the NHS will receive full pay (100%).

However, as costs associated with sick pay scheme are dependent entirely upon usage levels, Stena Line has reserved the right to withdraw the sick pay scheme if it becomes unaffordable.

The union’s negotiating team has consulted with both Shipboard and Shoreside members and overwhelming feedback is that the revision to the company sick pay arrangements still does not meet with our aspirations. In line with the wishes of the union’s National Executive Committee, I have advised Stena Line that organisations remain in dispute over this matter and should the situation not be resolved to the satisfaction of our members then it may become necessary to ballot our Seafarer and Docker members for industrial action. Additionally, I have advised the company that this union remains available for meaningful talks in order resolve this dispute.

The National Secretary is in the process of setting up zoom meetings for all affected members given the inability at this moment in time to visit ports and vessels. Additionally, I would be grateful if members could ensure that the RMT has the correct contact details (i.e. email, postal address, mobile number) and employment details (i.e. workplace and grade) for you by logging onto the members area of the website or alternatively you can e-mail us at info@rmt.org.uk or call the Freephone helpline on 0800 376 3706. Furthermore, this is a very difficult time for all transport workers, so if you are aware of any non-union members within your workplace, please feel free to encourage them to join the RMT so they can receive union protection going forward.

I will of course write to you again when any further developments arise in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary