"It's an automatic 26-week warning" is becoming a mantra from managers, especially on stations. But that's not the case, and it is high time that more of us objected and asserted our rights.
The Attendance and Discipline policies are clear that managers have discretion to give lower warnings - or no warning at all - as well as to give the maximum. If they give the maximum warning, they have to explain why. Any mention of the word "automatic" is a breach of the policy.
Some CSMs have the bottle to do this, but others appear to think that they have to do exactly what their bosses tell them to.
We want the unions to raise this with the company at the highest level, but some more assertion at local level wouldn't go amiss as well.