Branch Secretary :

Revealed: how stress takes it's toll on workers in the sector

The Guardian is featuring a new survey on the impact of stress on workers - it will be a talking point in the sector and Unite reps will seek to use these discussions as a basis for positive campaigns.


The survey finds "Long hours, a lack of breaks and a fraught working day are all too common for workers in the public and voluntary sectors."


These quotes from the survey will seem familiar to Unite members in housing:


“The number of people working here has been slashed but the workload has not. There is a lack of trust of the workforce and flexibility from the management. It feels like they are expecting more and more but giving less and less. The government has contributed to the perception of the public sector workforce as being lazy and money-grabbing. There have been many changes in the organisation and no one has any certainty or job security despite permanent contracts.” Local government development officer


“I got very stressed around Christmas and new year, when I was working completely on my own with 14 young people to support, no one to offload on to and as a result my own mental health was suffering. I was signed off work for two weeks in January after constantly bursting into tears, not sleeping and just not feeling like my usual happy self.” Social housing professional


“A lot more strain has been put on the voluntary sector due to cuts in other areas. We have seen an increase in the amount of vulnerable people we see weekly. Because there are gaps in services, we are expected to fulfil a need, in fact lots of different needs. As cuts increase, these gaps will increase and I fear that we cannot adequately meet the needs of some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our society, which is hard to take.” Charity project worker


“The public sector is the victim of large-scale cuts and austerity. While the cash impact of this might be significant, the combined low feeling of motivation and self-worth is stressful, as is making up for missing or stretched colleagues and the government continues to demand more.” Central government regional director


Read the full Guardian report here

For ideas on what we can do in Unite see a Unite guide here

For more on health and safety see here


.. and let us know what is happening in your workplace.



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