Lisa Baker

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Activ Absence responds to 'Sickout' absenteeism allegations made by Southern Rail

Activ Absence responds to 'Sickout' absenteeism allegations made by Southern Rail

Southern Rail is currently seeing a high rate of sickness absence among its staff which has led to the main railway unions being accused of staging an unofficial 'sickout', where instead of going on strike, workers ring in sick.

Absence management expert Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence said:

“There have been lots of allegations flying back and forth about the rail unions organising a sickout.

"These allegations are as yet unsubstantiated and organisations need to produce data to support any of these serious accusations and deal with staff they suspect of absenteeism via the disciplinary process, rather than making sweeping public statements which are bound to create even more hostility between staff and managers.

"In our experience, most UK businesses would find themselves unable to provide accurate, statistical data to prove 'sickie taking', which has been higher this summer anyway thanks to recent warm weather and Euro16.

"What is actually happening in Southern Rail is anybody’s guess. However, businesses who invest in systems that give accurate employee information generally see better morale, higher levels of engagement, more trust and less sickness absence, because it leads to more openness. The accurate data is also useful.

"I'd recommend that Southern Railway review their HR systems, policies and practices and work on improving their staff relationships.  A complete lack of trust and tit for tat allegations between managers and staff will only see morale slide further which is bad for both parties and ultimately impacts the customer.”

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