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'Pingdemic' and isolation requirements and the impact on Northern services

IanXC

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No, you do daily lateral flow tests instead. Some info here:






People "pulling a sickie" by telling falsehoods (e.g. claiming they haven't been double jabbed when they have) should not be tolerated. I think some are implying that this (a) will happen and (b) should happen, and it is gross misconduct and should result in dismissal.

I trust that the Unions will not be encouraging such practice; if it turns out they are, time for legislation to prevent their so doing.

And from 16th August, people who have been double jabbed will not be advised to isolate due to a contact (rather than an infection of themselves), rather they will be advised to take lateral flow tests.

I can't imagine many people choosing full self-isolation (remember, you are not allowed to leave your property at all for 10 full days - not even to go shopping for essentials, let alone to go to the pub) over taking a daily test and being able to resume life as normal. It is not just about staying off work, it is that you cannot go out - you are effectively under house arrest - the only exception is if the NHS or police instruct you to do so, or you would be in physical danger e.g. a house fire or domestic abuse.

Anyone who tells their employer that they are isolating but simply takes the time off work and carries on their social life as usual will be (a) breaking the law*, and (b) committing gross misconduct which would, quite rightly, render them liable for dismissal or at least strong disciplinary action - i.e. "pulling a sickie". And I hope anyone who does do that is sacked, because by doing so they would be bringing the railway and its majority of honest staff into disrepute, and if the Unions support them bang goes their credibility.

Clearly someone could self-isolate for the 10 days, but I really can't see many people choosing that option - being unable to go out at all for 10 days is pretty grim.

* Except if "pinged" on the phone app, which isn't legally mandatory, but carries advice based on the law for if T&T call you, so most employers will consider it the same.

Nope.

Daily lateral flow tests is/was the scheme for 20 select employers.

From 16 August those pinged or advised to self isolate need to isolate other than attending a test centre for a PCR test, until they receive a negative result (and obviously the full isolation applies if it is a positive result).

This means anyone pinged is still typically going to need to isolate for 2 days while they get their test and await their result.

If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive.
 
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Techniquest

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And if they say, as is their right, "I'm not willing to take daily tests"?

I'm in this camp too, and I know quite a few people who are too. Worth noting we're not part of the railway, but still key workers. We have to be up and getting ready for work by 2am, starting at 3am, some of my group have to drive in so they prepare even earlier.

Imagine waking up at 2am then, thankfully no symptoms. There just happens to be some tests in the house waiting to be used. There isn't in my house, so I'd be a bit shafted. Anyway, doing one of these tests half asleep would be a challenge all on its own, then it's a 30 minute wait for the result.

By this time it's after 0230, and you've then got to get ready for work, if you're anything like me it's not worth leaving the house without a good breakfast and coffee. Without it, going to work and putting lots of physical demands on the body without proper nutrition is asking for trouble.

No-one in their right mind would want to take one test at silly o'clock in the morning, let alone a test every morning for 10 days! I would imagine the majority of people don't want to suffer such nonsense, so I would defend anyone's choice to not be forced into daily testing.

I did 14 days of self-isolation in November 2020, due to a housemate getting ill. He was allowed back to work (in a hospital no less) after just 10 days, which I still disagree with. I've heard it went down to 7 days more recently if you get 'pinged'. Which is much more reasonable, months ago I had a colleague who was told they only needed to be off work for 5 days. Now it's 10 days?! 14 days was brutal, and two of my friends did it for 7 days after being 'pinged' which they found challenging.

Given the choice between being tested for 10 days, or isolating for 10 days, most people I know would choose isolation. Those of us who've already done the isolating thing, we know what it's like, and I would struggle isolating in good weather given how much I love being outside getting proper exercise.

It's worth noting the majority of us have got rid of the contact tracing thing too, but that's an entirely different story. I'm about to uninstall the app myself, and the majority of my colleagues don't use it either. Quite, getting them to wear a face covering in busy places is a challenge on its own. Common sense doesn't apply to a lot of people I work with...

So my view is that we should fight for our right to not have daily testing if we have reasons for it. The railway should be no different, the choice has to remain. If the individual doesn't feel comfortable shoving things up their nose or down their throat, then that choice should be respected. Simple as.
 

Bletchleyite

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Interesting.

Two days of course is far better than ten. That should mean the number of staff isolating due to contact tracing should reduce by four fifths.

Imagine waking up at 2am then, thankfully no symptoms. There just happens to be some tests in the house waiting to be used. There isn't in my house, so I'd be a bit shafted. Anyway, doing one of these tests half asleep would be a challenge all on its own, then it's a 30 minute wait for the result.

By this time it's after 0230, and you've then got to get ready for work, if you're anything like me it's not worth leaving the house without a good breakfast and coffee. Without it, going to work and putting lots of physical demands on the body without proper nutrition is asking for trouble.

I'm sorry, with respect, that is nonsense. The test takes 30 minutes to develop, but in that time you can be having breakfast and preparing for work. The actual time dedicated to taking the test is in the order of about 2 minutes.

So my view is that we should fight for our right to not have daily testing if we have reasons for it. The railway should be no different, the choice has to remain. If the individual doesn't feel comfortable shoving things up their nose or down their throat, then that choice should be respected. Simple as.

I would respect that but on one condition - the isolation is unpaid. You should make every effort to be in work if it is possible legally and safely. By taking lateral flow tests it is possible. Therefore you should not be allowed to receive full sick pay over this matter because you are effectively choosing not to work.

Obviously one has a right to choose not to work, but if one chooses not to work, one does not get paid.
 
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js1000

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No trains from New Mills to Manchester between 07:26 to 11:03 this Monday morning. None from Blackpool to Liverpool between 08:04 and 10:03. Not good if Northern are hoping to encourage post pandemic return of passengers.
 

Bayum

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I'm in this camp too, and I know quite a few people who are too. Worth noting we're not part of the railway, but still key workers. We have to be up and getting ready for work by 2am, starting at 3am, some of my group have to drive in so they prepare even earlier.

Imagine waking up at 2am then, thankfully no symptoms. There just happens to be some tests in the house waiting to be used. There isn't in my house, so I'd be a bit shafted. Anyway, doing one of these tests half asleep would be a challenge all on its own, then it's a 30 minute wait for the result.

By this time it's after 0230, and you've then got to get ready for work, if you're anything like me it's not worth leaving the house without a good breakfast and coffee. Without it, going to work and putting lots of physical demands on the body without proper nutrition is asking for trouble.

No-one in their right mind would want to take one test at silly o'clock in the morning, let alone a test every morning for 10 days! I would imagine the majority of people don't want to suffer such nonsense, so I would defend anyone's choice to not be forced into daily testing.

I did 14 days of self-isolation in November 2020, due to a housemate getting ill. He was allowed back to work (in a hospital no less) after just 10 days, which I still disagree with. I've heard it went down to 7 days more recently if you get 'pinged'. Which is much more reasonable, months ago I had a colleague who was told they only needed to be off work for 5 days. Now it's 10 days?! 14 days was brutal, and two of my friends did it for 7 days after being 'pinged' which they found challenging.

Given the choice between being tested for 10 days, or isolating for 10 days, most people I know would choose isolation. Those of us who've already done the isolating thing, we know what it's like, and I would struggle isolating in good weather given how much I love being outside getting proper exercise.

Wake up half an hour earlier then? Do the test as soon as you wake up? It isn’t surgery; it doesn’t require you to have absolute concentration. I do LFD tests twice a week and have to do my Wednesday one when I wake up at 6 so I can be sure I’m not poorly before going in to work. I’ve managed to do it correctly every single time even though I’ve been tired or groggy. I respect your choice to not take an LFD test but the reasoning you’ve given is tosh.
 

Watershed

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Nope.

Daily lateral flow tests is/was the scheme for 20 select employers.

From 16 August those pinged or advised to self isolate need to isolate other than attending a test centre for a PCR test, until they receive a negative result (and obviously the full isolation applies if it is a positive result).

This means anyone pinged is still typically going to need to isolate for 2 days while they get their test and await their result.
Ah, well that's rather less restrictive in some ways. There'll be no legal duty to undertake the tests, of course, but the railway will undoubtedly insist on it anyway.
 

Bletchleyite

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Wake up half an hour earlier then? Do the test as soon as you wake up? It isn’t surgery; it doesn’t require you to have absolute concentration. I do LFD tests twice a week and have to do my Wednesday one when I wake up at 6 so I can be sure I’m not poorly before going in to work. I’ve managed to do it correctly every single time even though I’ve been tired or groggy. I respect your choice to not take an LFD test but the reasoning you’ve given is tosh.

It's backwards reasoning i.e. "I don't want to take a lateral flow test so I am going to come up with some flawed excuse not to".

If choosing not to, he should stand behind it being his (in my view unreasonable) choice purely based on it being a bit unpleasant, not come up with nonsensical excuses.

I'm sure he isn't an anti-vaxxer, but the reasoning is very similar to the "reasoning" used by those people.

Ah, well that's rather less restrictive in some ways. There'll be no legal duty to undertake the tests, of course, but the railway will undoubtedly insist on it anyway.

I'm fairly sure there is not going to be a legal requirement to isolate before the test but no doubt we will see the chapter and verse in due course.
 

High Dyke

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No trains from New Mills to Manchester between 07:26 to 11:03 this Monday morning. None from Blackpool to Liverpool between 08:04 and 10:03. Not good if Northern are hoping to encourage post pandemic return of passengers.
Not all of that is due to withdrawn train services. A points failure at New Mills didn't help, with services diverted or cancelled.
 

Watershed

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I'm fairly sure there is not going to be a legal requirement to isolate before the test but no doubt we will see the chapter and verse in due course.
The amended Regulations have already been made, they are just not in force yet. They don't contain any legal obligation to take tests or do anything - other than to give evidence of your being double vaccinated (or being advised not to take the vaccine).
 

Techniquest

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Interesting.

Two days of course is far better than ten. That should mean the number of staff isolating due to contact tracing should reduce by four fifths.



I'm sorry, with respect, that is nonsense. The test takes 30 minutes to develop, but in that time you can be having breakfast and preparing for work. The actual time dedicated to taking the test is in the order of about 2 minutes.



I would respect that but on one condition - the isolation is unpaid. You should make every effort to be in work if it is possible legally and safely. By taking lateral flow tests it is possible. Therefore you should not be allowed to receive full sick pay over this matter because you are effectively choosing not to work.

Obviously one has a right to choose not to work, but if one chooses not to work, one does not get paid.

Thanks for the response, I don't expect anyone to agree with my view (which is shared by a lot of my group, for the record) but I did feel it necessary to provide the point of view. Whether it is deemed nonsense or not, that's up to you and everyone else to decide.

I will agree with you on the taking it as unpaid leave though, if that is how it has to be then that's fine. My personal situation is that I have multiple weeks of holiday time to take anyway, so I can happily use some of that. Not everyone is in such a position, obviously.

It's backwards reasoning i.e. "I don't want to take a lateral flow test so I am going to come up with some flawed excuse not to".

I'm sure he isn't an anti-vaxxer, but the reasoning is very similar to the "reasoning" used by those people.

Flawed or not, it is what it is. You are correct, I'm very pro-vaccine. I had my second vaccine a couple of days ago, and today I'm still recovering from it. I fought through my shift yesterday, and it was a mistake to do so with the side effects. Short term pain, long term gain as they say.

As I say, I don't expect anyone to agree with the logic, but I also don't expect others to be understanding of the lack of interest in being social with others!
 

VauxhallandI

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The two LFT tests I've taken have not been a pleasurable experience whatsoever so the thought of having to do that every day at 3am would seriously challenge me.
 

scrapy

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It's not a question of pulling a sickie - if you are notified by T&T you are under a legal obligation to self isolate, and if you receive an alert from the NHS app you will be under a company instruction not to attend work.

However, with the isolation exemptions which the rail industry has been given given, the vast majority of absences should be avoidable. Yet the "pingdemic" continue virtually unabated.

And certainly from everything I've seen, a disappointing percentage of frontline staff (or rather, their union reps) appear quite happy for the current chaos to reign indefinitely.
Northern have been advised by the government that only a limited number of staff qualify for exemption to carry on working before 16th August. There isn't a blanket exemption for the rail industry it's just a limited number of positions and train crew currently don't qualify it's just a limited number of rail industry staff vital to keep multiple trains running such as some control staff, some managers and some signallers. Frontline staff are not currently included.

Arrangements have to made for anyone that is attending work not to come into contact with others, again not easy for train crew.
 
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jamesst

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Northern have apparently been advised by the government that only a limited number of staff qualify for exemption to carry on working before 16th August. There isn't a blanket exemption for the rail industry it's just a limited number of positions and apparently train crew currently don't qualify it's just a limited number of rail industry staff vital to keep multiple trains running such as some control staff, some managers and some signallers. Frontline staff are not currently included.

Arrangements have to made for anyone that is attending work not to come into contact with others, again not easy for train crew.

Exactly the same at my toc, it's only control staff that qualify as if they go down there will be next to nothing able to run.
 

Bikeman78

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It's worth noting the majority of us have got rid of the contact tracing thing too, but that's an entirely different story. I'm about to uninstall the app myself, and the majority of my colleagues don't use it either. Quite, getting them to wear a face covering in busy places is a challenge on its own. Common sense doesn't apply to a lot of people I work with...
I'm starting to wonder who has the app. Hardly anyone in work does. I've had it from the start and I've never been told to isolate.
 

scrapy

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The two LFT tests I've taken have not been a pleasurable experience whatsoever so the thought of having to do that every day at 3am would seriously challenge me.
Even for those limited number of staff who are exempt until 16th August, there's no requirement for the tests to be done first thing in a morning. As long as they are done daily, the night before is fine. After 16th August the daily tests would no longer be compulsory but some employers may require them.
 

Techniquest

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I'm starting to wonder who has the app. Hardly anyone in work does. I've had it from the start and I've never been told to isolate.

Makes one wonder how there's supposedly all these people being 'pinged' then. In my workplace, and my social circle, the app is only basically there in very limited numbers and only used for checking into a venue. A few colleagues I know got pinged, and they've since uninstalled the app.

I've been using the app quite a bit in the last couple of months, quite honestly I've had many a time I've wanted it to go off. Obviously not wanting to catch the virus, gosh no, but 10 days of isolation seemed like paradise compared to 10 days of suffering epic shortages at work.

That viewpoint has changed mind, having seen just what the lethargy and so on took out of me on Sunday and Monday, following the second vaccine. Now I'm back to full power, even with rubbish weather coming up, I had to sacrifice almost everything on Sunday. Couldn't do much at all, and now I'm way behind on stuff to do. The crucial bit was not being to do exercise, not even indoor exercise!

There is the added bonus for me of having a lifestyle where socialising with others isn't a huge thing. Quite honestly I've not enough time in my average day to mix with crowds or what have you!
 

Watershed

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I've heard figures of around 2% of the general population being 'pinged' (whether through the app or through T&T) vs around 5-6% of traincrew self isolating. Though of course you'd expect outliers on both extremes.
 

scrapy

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I've heard figures of around 2% of the general population being 'pinged' (whether through the app or through T&T) vs around 5-6% of traincrew self isolating. Though of course you'd expect outliers on both extremes.
Sounds about right. Although train crew are probably a lot more likely to come into contact with multiple people throughout the day than for example those working from home. Together with often cramped staff facilities it doesn't surprise me that they are three times more likely than the average person to get pinged.
 

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