Today’s CBI report – outlining £120 billion of public sector savings – talks of “improving workforce management by adopting good private sector practice, including better management of staff sickness and temporarily freezing the public sector pay bill”.
In reality, that “good private sector practice” – which the CBI claims would save £8.4 billion over the next six years (document, p.14) – would mean people working when unwell or afraid to take time off work through a combination of fear and lack of sick pay, according to leading trade unionists.
A survey in January this year revealed at least 40 per cent of British workers were worried about taking sick leave because “they were afraid it would jeapordise their jobs”, with nearly two-thirds “prepared to forgo basic employment rights to avoid risking their job security”.
And in February, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
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“Too often we are told that British workers are always taking bogus sickies or taking time off at the first sign of a sniffle. But the truth is that we are a nation of mucus-troopers who struggle into work even when we are too ill because we do not want to let colleagues, clients or our employer down.”