The Branch has been asking members and non-members to complete a stress survey to find out how staff locally are coping in the workplace.
Stewards have been handing out stress survey forms during workplace visits and a survey form was sent out with the Summer issue of UNISON Matters which is delivered to all Branch members.
The Branch has had a great many forms returned and is currently compiling and analysing the responses, to take to the council.
More work and fewer staff
Richard Lawrence, Branch Health and Safety Officer said, “Many of our members told us that as the cuts began to bite, they became more stressed, as there are fewer and fewer staff doing the same amount of work. They tell us that workloads have increased and many members are experiencing their management as less supportive.
“We decided to do this survey to find out how widespread these problems are and we have had responses from across services.”
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary added, “We would like to thank all those who have returned their survey forms and once we have analysed the responses we will seek discussions with the council to look at the overall picture and what can be done.”
This follows on from the “what keeps you awake?” survey of more than 14,000 local government workers by UNISON nationally, which revealed that a staggering 87% are struggling to cope with increased stress and pressure at work.
Workers told the union that a toxic cocktail of declining staff numbers and increasing expectations from public and employers , is piling on the pressure.
72% said stress is affecting how well they can do their jobs, and 70% said that workplace stress is affecting their personal life.
UNISON is urging the government to slow down the multi- billion pound cuts currently hitting councils. The toll of job losses has already hit 250,000, making it difficult to provide services which are in high demand as communities struggle to cope with the recession.
The union is calling on employers to recognise that councils cannot function without their dedicated workforce, and to ease the pressure of the three year long pay freeze.