Union fears Falkirk's workers are suffering mental health problems due to COVID-19-related stress

Unite the union believe workers have been hit by a mental health “epidemic” because of the increased stress placed on them by the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 10:44 am

The union stated a new study showed a clear link between the increase in stress brought on by the pandemic and called on employers to help prevent the crisis being carried forward as the country opens up for business once more.

A health and safety-focused survey of 1400 Unite reps, from across all sectors of the economy, found 83 per cent are dealing with an increase in members reporting mental health-related problems.

Mental health issues also came top of workers’ concerns during a similar survey last year.

Unite says a new survey shows mental health problems among workers are on the rise due to stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic

However, there has been a huge 18-point increase from the 65 per cent reported in 2020.

Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “This survey shows there is an epidemic of mental health issues being suffered by workers across all sectors of the economy.

“April is Stress Awareness Month and employers need to be aware that there is a clear link between the explosion in mental ill-health and the stressors of the pandemic.

“As the country and the economy come out of the coronavirus freeze, the after effects of the pandemic are still going to be felt, including their impact on people’s mental health.

“During the week of International Workers’ Memorial Day, we should remember that many workers not only paid a physical price during the fight against COVID-19, but a psychological one too.

“Employers need to be aware of this and in partnership with trade unions implement mental health friendly policies to help prevent the psychological toll of the pandemic being carried forward longer than it needs to be.

“The survey also revealed a worrying trend of regulators not speaking to union reps during workplace safety inspections. This means regulators are not getting a full and accurate picture of the environments they are visiting, which is potentially dangerous.

“Unite has raised this issue before with all the relevant regulators and health authorities, but it is clear it is not being addressed. Direction requiring them to publish records of speaking to reps during visits is now needed.”