Trade union gives advice on ‘taking sickies’

Trade union Amicus has stirred up controversy and debate after publishing
tips for its workers on how to take a ‘sickie’ without getting in to trouble in
order to watch England’s games at the World Cup.

Under the headline, ‘World Cup Fever’, the site has the following message:
‘So you want to watch the World Cup, but you are meant to be at work when it’s
on: can you play away or is the risk of permanent relegation from your job too

It then goes on to tell members that it is ‘quite difficult to prove that
someone is not really sick if they have one day off’.

While it says that lying about being sick can be grounds for dismissal under
gross misconduct, if the company’s disciplinary/absence procedure does not make
this clear ‘you can argue that it is simply a form of misconduct which should be
viewed in the light of your work record’.

‘If you have a union representative they should be able to help you with your
arguments and interpretation of procedures,’ Amicus goes on to say.

The union says members should try and book time off, but if that fails should
try to persuade management, with the help of a union negotiator, ‘what a good
investment it could be to find ways to let people watch the World Cup.

Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses told BBC Radio 4
that that the advice should be withdrawn from the union’s website.

‘It’s grossly unfair also on staff who are not football fans when they see a
union advising their other colleagues to take a sickie,’ he said.

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