[2020] Motion 32 Young workers, mental health and work

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from:

For young workers, the labour market is typically characterised by low pay, precarity and job insecurity. There is a specific impact on mental health for people engaged in precarious work.

Many young workers deal with a toxic working environment such as bullying, harassment, rude and abusive customers and age discrimination.

As a result, young people’s working lives are negatively affecting their mental health. Poor working environments and the lack of certainty around working schedules, earnings and job security continue to have a specific detrimental impact on the wellbeing of young workers.

Congress notes:

i. Mental health problems are one of the main health issues for young people, with 10–20 per cent of those aged 16–24 experiencing mental health problems.

ii. 75 per cent of people who have lifelong mental health problems start to experience these by the age of 25.

iii. 72 per cent of young Usdaw members reported that financial worries are impacting their mental health.

iv. 45 per cent of 18- to 30-year-olds hold back from talking about mental health in the workplace.

In addition, Congress notes:

a. Access to mental health services has been severely limited due to austerity-driven health service cuts, with experts suggesting that the ‘treatment gap’ is worst for those aged 21–25.

b. The transition from children to adult mental health services can create huge problems for young people aged 16–19 if not handled sensitively.

Congress further notes:

  1. Mental health has been a TUC Young Workers Forum Priority Campaign in 2019/2020 and it applauds the work carried out by both the Forum and affiliates on this vital issue over the past year.
  2. The Campaign Planning Template has been developed, which will be invaluable in supporting young trade unionists across our movement to campaign for positive mental health and wellbeing with and on behalf of workers across the econo

Trade unions have to better address the particular prevalence of precarious work, low pay and bullying for young workers and the negative impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Congress calls on the TUC to:

i. campaign to raise awareness of how work affects mental health and its impact on young workers

ii. produce guidance for trade union reps on what employers must do to reduce pressure on their employees and put their workers’ mental health first

iii. 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 on the findings

iv. support campaigns by unions representing health care workers and other campaigning organisations to restore urgently needed funding to mental health services

v. make the case for employers in public-facing sectors to protect workers and act to ensure workers are treated with respect

vi. 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.

Congress further resolves to call on the TUC Young Workers Forum to:

i. ensure that the relationship between precarious work and mental health is incorporated into the work of the TUC Young Workers’ Forum on this priority campaign

ii. engage with young representatives of unions whose members are found in sectors where precarious work is the norm, irrespective of whether those unions are represented on the Forum, to further develop the TUC’s resources in this area.

TUC Young Workers Conference