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You may be aware of SPS NTS 17/21 which was issued by SPS outlining the provision for staff who have been required to shield through various points throughout the COVID pandemic, to have any leave lost during those periods reinstated.
We have had several communications from members over this issue, in particular, staff who have been at work throughout the whole of the pandemic other than for those periods of leave they were required to take. The feelings clearly being that of a sense of unfairness to those staff, given the opportunity to have their leave reinstated is not on offer or being considered.
Members make the point, rightly, that the quality of the leave that they were able to access did not provide too much more of an opportunity to do anything meaningful or purposeful with it, than those staff who are/were shielding, and that consideration should be given to those staff too, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep everyone safe and deliver the services required by the SPS.
We are writing to the employer on this point on the memberships behalf and reiterating those arguments with them on the basis that this does not in any way feel like a fair or reasonable approach has been taken on this issue. We will of course be stressing that those feelings are not in any way aimed at the staff themselves, and we will not allow it to become a divisive issue amongst the members. Nobody has done anything wrong here, and we will not allow any sense of unfairness amongst some staff start to impact on the relationships between us all as a membership.
We are also taking the issue to our legal service providers at Thompsons solicitors, to seek a legal opinion on this matter.
We will keep you all updated on the matter should anything come from those approaches.
On Behalf of the Scottish National Committee
Assistant General Secretary Scotland
Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.