Assistant Secretary, Susan Kennedy met with Pam Bruce and Alison Mackay of the council's Health and Safety team on 6th November to discuss the findings of the Branch's Stress Survey and to agree a way forward.
The responses to UNISON's survey, which was issued to all members through the UNISON Matters newsletter, shows that many members are struggling with increased workloads, deadlines and time pressures and worry about job security.
62% of those who filled in the survey are stressed by deadlines and time pressures in the workplace
51.5% are concerned about job security
64% are stressed by deadlines and time pressures in the workplace
Susan said, "Although our findings did not reflect the findings from the council's own stress survey, they are keen to work in partnership with UNISON to raise awareness of stress within the workplace, to address common factors and to put preventative measures in place."
She added that the council had already noted increased levels of absence through stress related illness and a new Attendance Management Policy is in its early stages to address this.
The council is also reviewing its Stress policy and has just begun consulting with the unions on this.
UNISON's report will now go to the next Management Meeting and to the Occupational Health Steering Group.
Susan added, "Pam Bruce has said that she would be keen to work in partnership with the Branch Health and Safety Officers to address stress at work issues and would like to see co-ordination toward the stress policy used for the follow up survey next year."
Susan and Steve Gray, who, along with Richard Lawrence, Health and Safety Officer, initiated the stress survey, will now meet Branch Health and Safety officers to agree a way forward with the council.
24th Oct 2013
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.