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Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP to discuss the mental health impact of working in retail with Usdaw members

Date: 06 December 2022 Retail trade union Usdaw is today taking a group of retail workers to the House of Commons to share their experiences with the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Doctor Rosena Allin-Khan (Labour, Tooting).
Usdaw has identified three key areas of concern for members’ mental health:
  • Cost of living crisis is severely impacting workers' living standards and Usdaw’s recent survey found it is affecting 72% of our members' mental health.
  • Violence, threat and abuse against retail workers impacts over 70% of shopworkers, Usdaw’s survey found, and is worse in the run-up to Christmas.
  • Christmas and New Year working leaves retail workers stressed and exhausted, but they get too little time off to help them recover. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “One in four of us will have a mental health problem at some point in our lives; for too long mental health has been a taboo subject and individuals are often unfairly blamed for their condition. So we very much welcome this opportunity for our members to speak directly to the Shadow Minister about their experiences, because the way we are treated at work has a significant impact on our mental health.
“The shame and secrecy that surrounds mental health can have devastating consequences. Usdaw wants to change that and our campaign message is 'it's good to talk'. We are encouraging conversations around mental health and signposting members for support. The situation is particularly difficult at this time with the worsening cost of living crisis, high levels of abuse that too many retail workers face and the exceptionally busy run-up to Christmas, with too little time off.
“We are greatly encouraged that the next Labour Government will deliver significant improvements to ensure that mental health will be treated as seriously as physical health; not least because the Shadow Minister is taking the time to speak to our members about their concerns. We also know that Labour’s commitment to a new deal for workers, which will lead to better paid and more secure employment, will make a real difference to the mental health of workers.”
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour's Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said: “Far too many people are facing this Christmas period worried about how to provide for their families. With so many Usdaw members having their mental health impacted as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and increased levels of abuse in the workplace, it is deeply important that we, as politicians, take the time to listen.
“After 12 years of Conservative mismanagement, our public services and our economy are on the brink. We need a growing economy to pay for modern, preventative, sustainable healthcare – but in order to grow the economy we need to start getting our public services back on track.
“The next Labour Government will prioritise a preventative approach to mental health treatment, recruiting 8,500 additional staff, ensuring support for everyone within 4 weeks, and access to counsellors in every school, so everyone can get the treatment they need.”
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.
Labour’s New Deal for Workers: www.usdaw.org.uk/LaboursNDW
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers