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Stress levels reach crisis point

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Ahead of Stress Awareness Day being held tomorrow, 3 November the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have released a survey which shows that three in five workers now complain of being stressed at work.

This is a rise of 2% since 2002 and worryingly the survey of 4,521 safety representatives shows that little is being done to tackle the problem.

Triggers for stress complaints include:

  • Increased workloads – 79%

  • Change at work – 47%

  • Staff cuts – 49%

  • Long hours – 37%

  • Bullying – 27%

  • Shiftwork – 22%

  • Cramped working conditions – 17%

  • Redundancies – 14%

  • Sex or racial related issues – 3%

According to the survey, the bigger the business the more incidents of stress.

Overall just over half of respondents (58%) complained of stress at work with the figure rising to 63% in businesses with over 1000 employees.

The field of work was also found to have a bearing on worker stress levels; those in the public sector topped the stress charts with nearly two thirds (64%) complaining of stress at work while less than half (48%) shared the same lament in the private sector.

The TUC say that stress at work costs the UK economy £7billion a year through sick pay, lost production and NHS costs and accounts for 6.5 million lost working days.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

“The fact that people are more stressed than ever before is bad news for workers and bad news for business. We know that long hours and dense workloads are stressful. We know that workers want a better work/life balance, yet some employers insist on trying to squeeze every last drop of sweat out of their workforce.

“A stressed employee is not a productive employee. Things like a failure to replace staff are bad for workers, their families and the employers’ productivity. Unless bosses start to seriously tackle stress and the causes of stress then they will continue to lose many days every year to workers off sick and many hours of productivity from their demoralised workforce.”

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