Congress calls on the General Council to support the provision of services for
trade union members with depression and mental health and wellbeing issues.
We are passionate about helping our members in good times and bad and hope that the message that support extends beyond the workplace resonates strongly throughout the trade union movement.
Congress believes that too little attention is paid to the particular pressures faced by low-paid workers and the impact those pressures can have on mental health.
Congress is concerned at the lack of respect shown to workers and notes
that dealing with rude or abusive members of the public creates a toxic
Congress further notes that staffing levels, unreasonable targets, short and
unpredictable working hours, inadequate family-friendly rights together with a lack of management support can make work extremely stressful.
Whilst anyone can develop a mental health problem, insecure hours and low pay are risk factors with 63 per cent of low paid workers surveyed by Usdaw reporting that financial worries are having an impact on their mental health.
The relationship between mental health and poverty is complex; nevertheless there is an established link, with the poorest fifth of the population twice as likely to be at risk of mental health problems.
Low pay – alongside insecure and short-term contracts – is also a feature of work in the entertainment industry, which also presents challenges to mental wellbeing; a survey of the mental and physical health of workers in the industry identified financial pressures as the biggest contributor to mental health problems.
There are also numerous difficulties and obstacles that an elite athlete has to face on a daily basis. Competition, injuries and loss of form are some of these but there is also the insecurity that short-term contracts bring and the worrying realisation that a career can come to an end with a bad injury or mistimed tackle.
Players are acutely aware that within a relatively short space of time they will need to transition into another career, which is always a daunting prospect. Given all these pressures it is important that the union is there to assist and support and can meet the needs of their members at critical times in their lives both during their playing career and beyond.
For many years the PFA has recognised the pressures and stress that life as a
professional sportsman or woman can bring. Consequently, have put in place
vital support for members in dealing with the challenges that are inherent in our profession, put substantial financial resources into education and training but also a nationwide network of qualified counsellors to be on hand when required.
Congress agrees that the TUC will:
i. campaign for employers to be under a legal duty to assess the impact their
policies, practices and procedures (including pay and conditions) have on
workers’ mental health and act upon the findings
ii. make the case for employers in public-facing sectors to protect workers and act to ensure workers are treated with respect
iii. support affiliates to tackle disability discrimination by holding employers to
account for their failure to make reasonable adjustments, compelling them to
address the causes of mental distress in their own policies and practices
iv. organise a one-day conference, and set up a cross-union working group, on
mental health as instructed by Congress in proposition 63 in 2018
v. campaign for workplace and work-related suicide to be categories recognised in legislation and recorded in government statistics
vi. continue to campaign for the government to address the funding crisis in
mental health services, to achieve real parity of esteem between mental and
physical health and ensure all workers suffering from mental health receive the expert support they need.
Mover: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
Seconder: Professional Footballers’ Association
Supporters: Communication Workers Union, Chartered Society
of Physiotherapy, Equity