UNISON introduces new mental health bargaining guide

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every workplace across the UK and is set to leave a lasting legacy for working arrangements over many years to come.

UNISON’s bargaining guidance has been adapting to all these changes with a host of new and revised advice designed to help activists meet the challenge at the negotiating table. This includes a new guide, Bargaining on Mental Health Policies.

The union has set out the guide to assist branches in ensuring that organisations treat mental health with the seriousness it deserves, with procedures that protect staff in general and maximise the assistance given to workers experiencing mental health problems in particular.

UNISON national officer for bargaining support Kevin Russell said: “The start of Mental Health Awareness Week today is a reminder of the way the COVID-19 pandemic has affected workers across the UK.

“Our frontline NHS and social care workers dealt tirelessly to save lives. Unless policies are put in place, increased home working and pressures placed on staff are liable to act as detonators of mental health problems for those delivering vital public services.

“COVID-19 is set to affect people’s working lives for many years to come. It is vitally important that UNISON sets a bargaining agenda that defends the interests of our members in dealing with those changes.”

UNISON’s Bargaining over Workplace Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic is constantly updated with every new development in the government’s pandemic measures, together with the implications for achieving the best agreements with employers.

From furlough to homeworking, safe working arrangements to the demands of virtual meetings, the guide rounds up all the issues that union reps are likely to encounter as a result of the pandemic.

Furthermore, against the background of normal leave patterns frequently being disrupted by the pandemic, UNISON’s Bargaining on Leave Guide is intended to assist negotiators in bargaining over all the key features of leave entitlements.