Mental health is an issue for us all. According to Mental Health Ireland everybody will experience some kind of mental health issue during their lives, with the vast majority coping and making a full recovery.
The risk of mental health problems has been compounded during the Covid-19 pandemic with a large number of workers working remotely. People working remotely can be more anxious or stressed at the change in work environment. Working remotely can make it more difficult for workers to switch off , and they may feel under pressure
to work longer hours.
Trade unions are key to promoting positive mental health and expect that their members should operate in an environment where high standards are the norm. These high standards require good working conditions and policies in the workplace to allow all of members to be treated with dignity and respect and to operate in an environment free of harassment, one where workers may flourish in their chosen occupation.
Traditionally, workplace health and safety initiatives have placed more emphasis on physical issues rather than on mental health. However, the effective management of all aspects of health and safety is good for workers, good for business and good for society as a whole.
Trade unions recognise that all concerned will benefit from workplaces which are proactive in protecting the mental health of workers and which take reasonable preventative measures. Protection of workers’ mental health is a right and with all rights come responsibilities.
Everyone in the workplace, trade unions, management and workers, has a moral and - in management’s case - a legal responsibility to create an environment that promotes
well-being and where all are encouraged to look after their mental health.
Most people will experience stress and mental health issues during their working lives but with a supportive environment at work and with the right help, at the right time, they will cope and recover.
Trade unions and their members have the best understanding of the problems that can occur in their workplace. By sharing that knowledge with managers and employers,
trade unions can help to shape, plan and implement solutions for the betterment of all union members. To this end we will positively engage both with employees and with
the organisations where we hold representation rights.
This document sets out ways in which unions can respond. All Congress-affiliated unions are encouraged to respond in their policies and procedures to the commitments made, and to implement the actions points outlined under each commitment.