Unions return fire over sick leave jibe

Trade unions have accused business leaders of anti-public sector
bias for criticising sick leave levels in statutory bodies.

The TUC questioned the validity of Confederation of British
Industry figures showing that public sector employees took on
average 2.7 more sick days than private sector counterparts.

CBI director general Sir Digby Jones had used the figures, in
the annual CBI-AXA absence survey, to call on the government to
“get to grips with public sector absence”.

However, the TUC said they reflected the relative stress of
public sector jobs, which led to greater long-term sickness, and
added that short-term absences were higher in the private

Unison policy officer Ross Hendry said: “I doubt whether many of
those making some of these critical remarks would last a week in
some of our members’ jobs.”

An exclusive Community Care survey last month revealed that
20,000 social services council staff took at least two months off
sick last year, which the British Association of Social Workers
blamed on stress.


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