[2022] C12 Workers’ mental health must not be the price of the cost-of-living crisis

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from: ,

Motion 44 and amendments

Congress notes the negative impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on mental health of workers and the need for organising and campaigning around mental health issues, which are a priority for unions in all workplaces.

Congress asserts that as the economic downturn deepens it will impact on workers mental health.

Congress also notes that:

i. one in four people will experience mental health problems

ii. one in six UK workers will be affected by conditions like anxiety, depression and stress

iii. workplace issues like pay, workloads, casualisation, inequality, pensions, health and safety, bullying, discrimination, threats of redundancy and redundancy heighten worker stress and impact on mental health

iv. UCU’s most recent cost of living report in which more than eight in 10 college workers said their financial situation is harming their mental health

v. workers who are on zero- or short-hours contracts are often reluctant to speak out when they are experiencing work-related mental health problems, due to the power imbalance of their employment situation

vi. over a decade of cuts have devastated mental health support.

Congress recognises:

a. employers have a duty of care to workers to ensure their health, safety and welfare, and should proactively support the wellbeing of their employees

b. the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) role in addressing risks to workers’ physical and mental health

c. work-related stress is a significant cause of ill health absence and one of the causes of work-related suicide.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

1. run a campaign highlighting the impact of the pandemic, cost-of-living crisis, insecure work, and redundancy on workers’ mental health

2. campaign for the government to prioritise and fund workers’ mental health and wellbeing in line with physical health and reverse cuts to mental health support

3. lobby the HSE to monitor, investigate and regulate work-related suicides, as done in France, Japan and the United States

4. lobby the government to introduce legislation so that if any employee takes their own life in the workplace, or indicators suggest it may be work-related, it should be immediately investigated as a potential work-related suicide with the burden of proof being imposed on the employer to demonstrate otherwise

5. campaign for employers to prioritise workers’ health, safety and wellbeing at work, including support for affiliates on pursuing the prioritisation of members’ health and wellbeing at work through collective bargaining.

Mover: University and College Union
Seconder: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
Supporters: Communication Workers Union; Educational Institute of Scotland