Welsh public service staff face a daily struggle with impossible workloads and are risking their mental health. That’s the message from UNISON Cymru Wales which says employers are not doing enough to support their staff. The trade union has begun a two-week survey of staff at hospitals, councils, colleges and more, to encourage workers to prioritise their health and safety.
UNISON says the austerity drive directed by the UK Conservatives which has cost Wales at least 25,000 local authority jobs since 2010, means council staff are working harder than ever with fewer resources. The trade union also argues a lack of investment in social care is placing NHS staff under tremendous strain.
Stephanie Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said,
“Public service staff in hospitals, schools and in our communities are working flat-out doing the best they can and many are at the end of their tether. Severe spending cuts driven by Westminster have robbed them of the resources they need to do the job properly. This is having a terrible effect on public services and the employees who deliver them.
“They have excessive workloads and often suffer stress and bullying. Staff frequently miss breaks and work extra hours without pay to try and get through all their tasks and in this very busy, pressurised environment, accidents at work may not always be dealt with properly. Employers must do more to support their workers. Staff well-being must be the number one concern.
“Over the next two-weeks, UNISON will be visiting workplaces across Wales and speaking to our 100,000 members, hearing their experiences. We will take the results of our survey to employers to show them how to make their workplaces safer for their staff.”
Notes for editors
- The trade union, which has 100,000 members, is visiting workplaces across Wales in a two-week blitz over the next fortnight starting today
- UNISON will ask its members whether they strongly agree/ agree/ disagree/ strongly disagree with the following questions:
- Accidents in my workplace are not always reported
- I am given time to complete paperwork when there has been an accident
- I report safety issues but get no feedback
- I am given regular training in the risks associated with my job
- I understand all the health and safety risks associated with my job
- I receive regular health and safety briefings
- We sometimes have to ignore safety rules in order to get the job done
- I have all the necessary equipment to do my job safely
- Managers are not interested in health and safety
- I have experienced bullying from a colleague or manager within the last 12 months
- I have reported the bullying I experienced
- I am confident my employer takes bullying seriously
- I have regularly worked excess hours with no pay in order to cope with my workload
- I regularly forgo breaks in order to cope with my workload
- I am confident my employer takes steps to reduce stress in the workplace
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397