Rheged in Cumbria was the perfect setting for a Cumbria Forum focussed on health and wellbeing on Thursday 28th June. Over 40 reps attended the seminar and heard at first-hand what practical steps unions are taking to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The Forum provides an opportunity to bring together trade union representatives from across the County, picking up issues of interest or concerns in workplaces or the broader community such as health and wellbeing and delegates were warmly welcomed to the event by Alan McGuckin, Chair of the Forum.
Our first speaker, Tom Ross who is the TUC lead on health and wellbeing started with an overview on health and wellbeing in the workplace including the Better Health at Work Award and Mental Health First Aid. It is estimated that one in four people will experience some form of mental health problems in any year. We can all improve our mental health by increasing awareness; increasing protective factors and reducing risk factors where possible, and promoting positive coping strategies. The encouraging fact is that most people recover from mental health problems and the Mental Health First Aid initiative seeks to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems. Trade unions are at the forefront when it comes to improving workplace health and wellbeing. Download a copy of Tom's presentation here http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/335/Why Trade Unions Are Important In Improving Workplace.ppt
Before our next speaker, the Chair mentioned the partnership the TUC has with Macmillan nationally and in the region, working with the regional TUC asbestos campaign and support group. He drew attention to the leaflets contained in the conference packs promoting the service - trade union led and supported.
Phil Hanns from Macmillan Working with Cancer explained that the project he works on is based within Durham County Council and provides employment support and vocational rehabilitation to those affected by cancer. Some of the things Working with Cancer can provide includes information about getting back to work and help available; advice about cancer and its effects' tax credits and other benefits advice; support with talking to employer about getting back to work and planning that return; help with work adjustments and modifications; help finding paid work, voluntary work or other learning opportunities. Phil stressed that good communication with line managers makes it more likely to get employees back to work and to sustain employment. Working with Cancer promotes a joint approach, working with unions, individuals and employers and provides resource packs for reps to access. Download a copy of Phil's presentation here http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/336/TUC macmillan working with cancer june 12.ppt
The Chair then introduced Charlton Chorlton and Paul Musgrave to talk about the Workplace Wellbeing Charter. The Charter has been designed to encourage businesses to engage in activities that will help reduce the number of employees that experience ill health as a consequence of work. It is an opportunity for employers to demonstrate their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Workplaces choose the level of award they want to attain and date they wish to submit for accreditation. Pilots are currently running with Barrow Borough Council, Carlisle City Council and South Lakes District Council. Unions are ideally placed to promote the Charter and approach has been made to include union representation on the Cumbria Workplace Wellbeing Steering Group. It is planned to launch the Charter to all Workplaces across Cumbria Autumn 2012. Dowload a copy of the presentation here http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/337/Wplace Presentation - 28 6 12.ppt
The final contribution came from Angela Harrison and Glen Palmer (PCS-HMRC Lillyhall) who talked about their involvement in the Workplace Wellbeing Charter. They are currently at the 'Achievement' level and working towards the 'Excellence' Award. A number of health and well being initiatives have been introduced including the annual sponsored tax office to tax office walk from Lillyhall to Workington; breast cancer awareness day (where everyone is encouraged to wear something pink) and 'a grand in your hand', encouraging people to eat healthily and save money into the bargain!. Angela and Glen finished by saying they would be happy to share their experience and suggestions on health and well being tips in the workplace.
For more information contact the TUC Regional Office 0191 2323175 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Briefing document (800 words) issued 5 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21175-f0.cfm
printed 23 May 2013 at 18:22 hrs by 22.214.171.124