UNISON Activists and Mental Health

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2019 Energy Service Group Conference
25 February 2019

Conference is concerned to note that increasingly both branch activists and lay officials are finding themselves suffering extreme stress and anxiety when dealing with the levels of case load that they are presented with.

In some cases representatives in Energy have been placed under extreme personal pressure by employers.

Conference notes that these pressures on activists are forcing them to think seriously about giving up being an activist. The fewer in number the Energy activists, then the more caseload we have to do in branches. Attacks on facility time are reducing numbers even further.

We need to be fit and well in order to represent our members, particularly those who are also suffering from poor mental health.

In the Energy sector staff suffering poor mental health are increasingly are being subjected by management to harsh sickness absence and performance procedures and policies. If or when these members get dismissed there should be no question that they will get the full support of our union by representatives who can think and work effectively on their behalf.

This is a major issue in our union. Activists in Energy are asking what can we do when facing these challenges and where do we go as activists for support when we need it?

Conference therefore calls upon the Energy service group committee to:

1) Work with the National Executive Committee to produce specific guidelines on dealing with support for stewards and activists dealing with workload pressures;

2) Look at providing resources to promote mental health first aid training to activists in UNISON and appointing mental health champions in branches.