thumb-c42a3e688cc2234c4f8e95ed0f96b817 (1)UNISON members have been expected to do more with fewer staff for less pay – the union’s national health and safety committee noted today, as it met on the first day of this year’s European Health and Safety Week.

Committee members representing UNISON service groups, regions, and the NEC reflected on union’s  Cut stress, not jobs campaign – and the union rallies for fair pay over the weekend.

“The truth is that our members have been at breaking point for a long time,” said committee chair Malcolm Harrington.

“Over the past four years they have consistently been expected to do more, with fewer staff employed, and for less pay. In short, our members are stressed out, overworked, and underpaid.”

Vice chair Pam Sian added: “It is important to remind employers and others that there is a big difference between stress and pressure.

“A little pressure can be motivational and help us to prioritise important work, but when the pressure becomes too much to cope with and makes us feel ill, that’s stress and it is always harmful.”

The European Health and Safety Week is held each year. The official slogan for 2014 is: Healthy workplaces manage stress.

UNSION has published a revised guide on stress at work to support  safety reps in raising the issue of workplace stress with their employers.

Stress at Work, a guide for UNISON safety reps [PDF]

In a recent survey of UNISON safety activists, 90% of respondents said that stress was one of the top health and safety concerns in their workplace.