Our Ref: BR2/4/1

14th February 2018

Dear Colleague,


I write in relation to the above matter and further to a resolution received from our Newcastle and Gateshead Branch which expressed their deep concern and anger over the recent dismissal of one of our well respected RMT Representatives, Sister Alison Burnell, a Customer Service Advisor at NEMOL.

The branch resolution highlights a number of issues with the way Alison has been treated and a clear breach of NEMOL’s sickness absence policy. Management totally refused to consider mitigating factors, such as difficult and challenging personal circumstances which placed a considerable strain on Alison. NEMOL has clearly failed in their duty of care to Alison.

Additionally, what makes this even more insulting is that this dismissal seems pre-determined as prior to any hearing Alison was contacted by a supervisor who stated that “the company have took the decision to dismiss someone who breaches the sickness absence policy”. However, at the time of this call Alison was the only individual in the process of the sickness and absence policy. This is totally unacceptable and clearly breaches any protocol. Furthermore, no member has ever been dismissed under the sickness and absence policy and it is our belief that Alison has been dismissed on this basis due to her long standing trade union principles and her position as a well-respected representative.

Therefore, the company has been informed that a dispute situation now exists between our two organisations and will do so until Alison is fully reinstated to her substantive role. The RMT National Executive Committee has recently considered the case of Alison and taken the decision to conduct a ballot of all our members working for NEMOL.

Ballot paper for strike action and industrial action short of strike will be dispatched on Friday 16th February 2018. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we stand together and demonstrate our strength of feeling to the company in this dispute. We must oppose the company’s clear abuse of the sickness and absence policy and defend our colleague. I am urging members to vote ‘YES’ to both questions in the ballot for industrial action. It is crucial that members return their voting paper by, first post, on Thursday 1st March 2018.

The union needs you and your colleagues to return a massive ‘yes’ vote to ensure we can defend our colleague. I urge all members to ensure their details are correct and if you have not received a ballot paper by Thursday 22nd February 2018, then please contact the RMT Freephone Helpline urgently on 0800 376 3706 or the RMT Switch board on 020 7387 4771 and ask for the industrial relations department, where a replacement ballot paper will be sent to you by first class post. Additionally, if you are aware of a colleague who has not received their ballot paper, ask them to call on one of the above numbers to update their details so they are able to receive a replacement ballot paper.

Yours sincerely  


Mick Cash

General Secretary