Speaking to conference delegates, Dave McCrossen – Usdaw Deputy General Secretary said:
“Usdaw was one of the first trade unions to talk about mental health and, importantly, to recognise it as a workplace issue. All of the evidence demonstrates that the greatest risk factors for poor mental health at work, aren't to do with a person's weight or that they smoke or don't eat enough fruit or vegetables. The biggest risk factors come from poor workplace design, poor working practices, along with bad management and customer behaviours.
“The focus, as we have been saying for some time, should be on employers fixing the workplace not the worker. At best managers are frequently unaware of their legal obligations under the Equality Act and of their duty to make reasonable adjustments. At worst they deliberately refuse to act on them.
“The duty to make reasonable adjustments isn't about special treatment, it isn't about managers doing workers with mental health issues a favour. It's about levelling the playing field for workers who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and it's also about removing the barriers that get in the way of people with mental health conditions.
“Those barriers can sometimes be about working hours or workplace policies and procedures, but they can also be about attitudes, prejudice and ignorance. We fully support the call for training for managers on mental health and the Government should take the lead by promoting good quality, well resourced, mental health training.
“This is needed now, more than ever before. We are only just beginning to realise the true scale and extent of the impact the pandemic has had on the nation's mental health. I'd like to thank our reps for the support they give members with mental health problems at work. We need sensitive, empathetic managers who not only understand mental health, but also care, would go a long way to improving everybody's wellbeing.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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