Mental health and wellbeing are major issues in our world and also in the workplace today. A recently produced report in the West Midlands says that “40% of all absenteeism can be attributed to poor mental health. In five years, this is expected to rise to 70%”. These figures are truly shocking and serve as a wake-up call to our employer for appropriate supportive action for all employees. Austerity cuts have left staff under more pressure, facing increased stress and anxiety.
For our part UNISON takes the issue very seriously and has worked with the City Council and MIND to provide a training programme for managers on Mental Health. We would like to see this go further and introduce training for all employees on Mental Health awareness. For those of us who represent members in the workplace we have seen a marked increase in mental health issues presented to us. Mental health needs a much more prominent role in our workplace, a subject which is still too much of a taboo. We must challenge this and as the report suggests “value mental health wellbeing as an asset, not as a hindrance”.
We must create a more open culture and we can do this if our employer steps up to the issue and works with us. We know we work in an environment of constant pressure too and this must be balanced by a supportive workplace culture where employees feel valued.
We have raised the issue with the City Council and intend to discuss a new strategy for Mental Health in our workplaces. Together we can be better. Join UNISON today to help us fight to end discrimination.
Follow WMHD on twitter via – https://twitter.com/WMHDay
To find out more visit – https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/workers-memorial-day-28-april-2015
All UNISON members will be receiving ballot papers from 3rd April for elections to the leadership of UNISON. The National Executive Council (NEC) is elected by members to speak on our behalf. It is really important that we vote in these elections as it helps shape the direction of our union.
Your Branch Committee has discussed who we would like to nominate. We agreed that we believe the following candidates will best represent the interests of ordinary members facing attacks on workplace conditions and pay, the continuation of austerity and attacks from politicians seeking to divide people facing cuts by scapegoating people on grounds of ethnic origin, gender, sexuality, disability status, religion and more.
We also believe these candidates will fight for democracy and accountability to be defended and improved within UNISON. The Branch has therefore decided to support the following nominations:
Dave Auger – West Midlands Male Seat
Shazziah Rock – West Midlands Female Seat
Rose Brown – West Midlands Female Seat
Andrew Berry – Disabled Members General Seat
Pam Howard – Disabled Members Female Seat
April Ashley – Black Members Female Seat
Hugo Pierre – Black Members Male Seat
Jane Doolan – Local Government Female Seat
Andrea Egan – Local Government Female Seat
Paul Gilroy – Local Government Male Seat
Paul Holmes – Local Government General Seat
Josie Runwick – Young Members Seat
NEC members are elected by all members of UNISON via a postal vote. Members elect candidates to represent their region and their service group. There are also additional seats for Black members and young members. As with all other UNISON elections, the union’s principles of “proportionality and fair representation” means that some seats are reserved for women and low-paid members, so that the make-up of the NEC fairly represents the wider union. Elections take place every two years, with members receiving a ballot paper with a prepaid envelope to return it to an independent scrutineer (an independent person who checks the ballot is fair and counts the votes).
Results are usually announced around one month after the voting deadline.
Thanks, Sarah Feeney, Branch Secretary, Coventry City UNISON
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Members of staff will have seen the email from the Chief Executive regarding the news surrounding the Friargate project. Articles have also been published on the Beacon intranet and in the Coventry Telegraph. UNISON have concerns about what has been communicated. For example, staff and the Coventry public have been told on many occasions that the project will create 15,000 jobs – is this figure likely to be realised and what were those figures based on?
Friargate has been put forward as the saviour of the city, at a time when staff are losing their jobs and Coventry people are suffering cuts to libraries, youth services, children’s centres and much more, yet it appears that the project is having difficulty attracting support. We were also told that moving Council staff in to Friargate will save us money – it now appears that not all staff will be moving.
Coventry City UNISON will be seeking clarification on these points and others as soon as possible and will keep members informed. If you have any questions or comments about this please contact your local UNISON rep or the branch office. UNISON communication regarding Friargate development
Coventry City UNISON has responded with deep concern to the recent ‘Connecting Communities’ proposals from the City Council. UNISON believes proposals will severely impact specific groups of Coventry residents such as children, older people and black and minority ethnic origin (BAME) people. It is unclear how the proposed ‘transformation models’ are sustainable ways to deliver crucial services. People will lose access to local facilities – with many older people and children not having the ability to visit a library within easy distance of their home. Those losing face to face access to local libraries to learn and use a computer could be seriously disadvantaged in their ability to receive crucial services as they are increasingly being delivered via IT dominated facilities in Coventry city centre.
UNISON Branch Secretary, Sarah Feeney, states ‘this proposal could have a disastrous effect on young people in our city. We will cease to deliver meaningful services to most young people. It is imperative that the remaining provision should be strengthened and not cut’.
The documents themselves are opaque. It is of great concern that there are so many questions still left unanswered. In some cases, these are large fundamental questions such as what the service will look like and which partners are involved? UNISON believes that this proposal should be withdrawn and that the consultation should be done when a clear model of what will happen is available to be consulted upon. For copies of our full response visit our website.
Download the press release in pdf format here..dec1516unisonpressrelease