Healthier Workplaces Could Save Billions

The TUC is calling on employers to make workplaces healthier as it reveals 19 million workdays are lost in the South West every year to sickness.

The union wants the Government to back its calls for more emphasis on promoting health as well as stopping people becoming ill.

Nigel Costley, the South West TUC’s Regional Secretary, thinks it could happen, “A debate on ‘good work’ may sound like a pipe dream while 436,000 people in the South West work more than seven hours unpaid overtime every week and half the region’s employers have not even done a suitable risk assessment.

“However, in workplaces where there are unions, issues around ‘good work’ have already been raised with employers, and these employers and employees are already reaping the benefits.”

The union's latest report claims things like a lack of control over work, poverty pay, repetitive or monotonous work, a lack of respect at work, incompetent line managers, too much, or too little, work, a lack of training, unsafe working conditions, long hours and bullying all characterise 'bad work'.

Nigel Costley thinks change will benefit everyone, “the economic rewards of a regional ‘good work’ culture could be huge. Every year around 19 million working days are lost in the South West because people are too ill to go to work and the cost of this sickness absence runs into billions of pounds. The benefits to individual workers of leading more fulfilled and healthier live are also enormous.

"But as long as we see ‘good work’ as a good idea rather than a basic human right, work will continue to make workers ill and as a result employees and society will continue to suffer.” 

It's hoped discussions will soon begin between employers, unions and the Government over how to make improvements.