Usdaw called on the TUC to facilitate the sharing of best practice and campaigning strategies and support unions in running mental health awareness campaigns that engage members and employers.
Speaking at the TUC in the Brighton Centre, John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary said: “Usdaw’s experience has shown that mental health is an issue of growing importance to union members. In the UK, around 12 million people see their GP about a mental health problem every year, but mental health continues to be a hidden disability that is rarely spoken about. Therefore, it should be no surprise that recent TUC research on this subject has shown that 75% of people with a long-term mental health condition are not in work.
“Over recent years, the trade union movement has won important safeguards for people suffering from mental health issues. If depression or anxiety is revealed as the true cause of an absence, the Equality Act can provide protections at work and place responsibilities on employers to make reasonable adjustments. However, this can only happen if members feel able to openly report mental health conditions.
“To ensure this happens, Usdaw has embarked on running significant campaign activity around mental health awareness. Our campaign aims to remove the stigma around mental health, signpost people to relevant services for advice and normalise conversations with managers around the issue.
“Usdaw is taking a proactive approach to this issue, providing real support for our members.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion