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Teaching unions report increase in Covid sickness absence

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Education unions in West Berkshire say there has been a large increase in the numbers of members contacting them about sickness absence management as a result of Covid/long Covid.

Teachers are telling them of the stress caused by covid and on workload, with emphasis on helping students to catch up.

In a report to West Berkshire Council’s schools forum, the union also points to an increase in the number of grievances that have been lodged by members in the last year.

West Berkshire Council is welcoming Afghan refugees (50835249)
West Berkshire Council is welcoming Afghan refugees (50835249)

Union officials say they encourage members to use informal mechanisms before they escalate to formal grievance.

“Where the relationship between an employer and an employee has broken down beyond repair, we are seeing an increasing amount of settlement agreements being arrived at,” says the report.

“These may not be fully realised formal agreements, although these have been negotiated this year, but are often early release from contractual employment dates and/or gardening leave.”

The teaching unions are campaigning for better pay from September to make up for ‘historically low increases in the last dozen years’.

This, says the report, will undoubtedly be an issue over the next 2 years, especially in the current climate.

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