Branch Secretary :

Unite reps at Catalyst housing challenging unhealthy workplaces

National Stress Awareness day


Today is National Stress Awareness Day, but Unite reps are dealing with the problems resulting from stress in the housing sector every day.   Unite reps at Catalyst housing have marked the day by proposing a stress policy for the organisation based on discussion and feedback from Catalyst staff.


40% of housing staff say workloads are unmanageable


A recent Guardian survey of housing workers showed that 40% of them feel their workloads are unmanageable.  They also felt that the constant restructuring in the sector is badly managed and leads to greater stress.   


At Catalyst Unite reps have made the following appeal to management: Over recent months, members of Unite at Catalyst Housing have been discussing ways that life working at Catalyst can be improved. One area that many believe is in need of improvement is in relation to Health and Safety: specifically, the prevention of stress at work and in the support of those colleagues suffering mental ill health. 

Since that time, members have worked together to draw up an ambitious and practical policy to improve these things for staff at Catalyst Housing, which we attach for you today. We are confident that the implementation of this policy will lead to benefits for the company and its staff. A recent report for the government has highlighted the fact that, according to research by Deloitte, every £1 spent on mental health support in the workplace can bring returns of between £1.50 and £9 (Thriving at Work, 2017).

The main improvements that the policy will deliver are as follows:
1. Mandatory training for all managers on how to support staff with mental ill health, as well as how to spot the signs.
2. Tackle the causes of work-related stress and mental ill health by establishing a system of risk assessment for stress & mental health.
3. Improve support for staff suffering mental ill health and stress related illnesses.

The policy will also ensure that performance is monitored by the Board and published to all staff on an annual basis.


Representing members


Regrettably Catalyst no longer recognises trade unions but that has not stopped Unite from actively representing members and we hope they will engage with this initiative.  Unite has recently taken up concerns regarding Catalysts draconian sick policy and represents members in personal cases.


See also a report from a Catalyst staff member on the CEO's review of the company as a place to work (5 stars apparently) as against the views of other staff, I would leave tommorow if offered another job.


Branch resources on stress are available here






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