As previously reported by this website, this year’s Annual General Conference held in April saw an emotional debate highlighting the increase in the number of cases of mental health illness and associated sick leave that CWU Branch Officers across all industries in which we have members, are having to deal with.
The mover of motion 69 which called for a comprehensive CWU Mental Health Strategy and supporting speakers gave examples of the toll on the health of our members from workplace stress, sometimes combined with personal problems outside of work and existing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). CWU members need support, understanding and help from both their employer and Union Reps.
Motion 69 Debate
Here Dave Joyce and Dave Ward, outline progress in developing a comprehensive CWU Mental Health Strategy (CWU MHS), as required by Motion 69 carried at General Conference 2018:
The motion instructs the NEC to work with the Young Workers National Committee and appropriate HQ departments including Health & Safety and Equality Departments, to assist in developing such a strategy. It states that the project should consider:
- Developing a working relationship with organisations/charities to develop and execute the strategy
- A joined up training programme
- The most effective methods of communicating with branches, reps and members on the issue
- Support for reps who deal with members who have mental health issues
- Support for reps affected by the increasing stress of the job
- Measures to ensure the strategy is working effectively
As highlighted in the motion, the CWU has done some excellent work at branch, regional and national level to raise awareness of mental health and its impact on individuals.
The NEC has discussed this matter at a recent meeting, and noted that the work we have done to date and the approach going forward is in itself a good example of how we would see CWU future strategy being developed in a more joined up way.
There is no doubt that the issue of mental health impacts on the general work of the union, our industrial constituency work, how we support all our representatives and how we address these issues in wider society. Therefore, the most effective approach will be to build an overall strategy together, and as part of this the industrial constituencies will then take responsibility where appropriate.
A Project Team has been set up, under the direction of the General Secretary, to develop, implement and monitor the CWU Mental Health Strategy.
Its inaugural meeting was held on 28th August.
Its core members are:
Health & Safety Dept – Dave Joyce (Lead Officer)
Health & Safety Dept – Gerard Harkin (Policy Advisor Support)
Research Dept – Bill Taylor
T&FSE x 2 – Tracy Fussey and Tom Cooper
PEC x 2 – Steve Jones and Carl Maden
Equality Dept – Fevzi Hussein
Education & Training Dept – Paul Dovey
Dept – Jo Thair
Chairperson Project Team - Steve Jones
As work progresses on the strategy, the output will be reported to the NEC by the General Secretary.
The Project Team is aware that there have been some excellent local and Regional mental health initiatives and believes that a greater knowledge of this activity could greatly assist their work.
Branches and Regions are therefore requested to feed back local initiatives to the Project Team through the Union's National Health and Safety Dept head, Dave Joyce
Source: CWU / LTB516/18