Thursday, February 21, 2008

Get back to your roots, Mr Johnson

How have we reached a point when a Labour government provides such mammoth amounts of succour to the rich, powerful and exploitative?

Alan Johnson (who boasts a genuine working class roots to ministerial office life story) has announced the latest "big idea" from his department of health: "well notes" to replace "sick notes" so that doctors are obliged to make judgements about what work an ill employee can do rather than signing that employee off work altogether.

The thing about being signed off under the current system is that it gives a protective period in which the employee can recover from an illness in peace without constant hassle from the employer. Any employer worth its salt will want its staff in the workplace unless they're so ill or damaged that work is physically impossible. This is not in the best interests of an employee who may need time away from the pressures of a working environment.

Any "well note" that says someone might be capable of "light duties" is open to interpretation; an employer will always want the maximum. How can a GP know how any given workplace operates? Does the doctor understand the operating systems of the railway for example? Of your workplace? I would hazard the guess that he or she does not.

The only outcome therefore will be employers demanding productivity from unfit workers who are to be denied the opportunity to recover in their own non-work environs under this ill-conceived proposal.

Come on, Al, get back on the side of the workers, the community you come from, and stop helping the vicious greedy bastards of the CBI and their ilk.

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