A NUMBER of Nabarro Nathanson secretaries suffering from upper limb disorder have been told they will have their salaries terminated.
The decision by the firm comes after some of the secretaries have been off work on full pay for between six months and two years.
However, the plan is not to terminate their employment but to arrange for them to have an income based on 75 per cent of their salary from a permanent insurance (PHI) scheme through an insurance company, says Nabarros' director of personnel, Charles Mead.
"We have not terminated anybody's job because of this condition. Unfortunately, we may get to the point where we have to say these people will not get better in the foreseeable future," says Mead.
"I have the greatest sympathy for these people, and I hope we are reacting in a responsible and sympathetic manner," he says.
Nabarros has had 24 cases of repetitive strain injury (RSI) and upper limb-related illness among staff in the last two years. The firm says it helps to rehabilitate people, by first moving them to other duties if possible.
The firm says 13 people have now gone back to typing. Five are still off work after between 6-24 months absence on medical advice.
Eight cases are now awaiting the outcome of claims for PHI insurance, which pays- out 75 per cent of total salary.
Half of those are thought to have been off work a long time. Many sufferers, including the eight, are still on 100 per cent salary from the firm.
However, signs are that staff are unhappy about the situation, fearing loss of jobs and a cut in their income.
"There is a very real problem there," says one secretary, who says staff are seeking legal advice. "It's a very underhand way of going about things."