Headlines, PublicNet: 22 June, 2016

Local government staff are experiencing unprecedented pressure and stress in the workplace according to a report from UNISON.

The report ‘Under Pressure, Underfunded and Undervalued’ is based on a survey of more than 2,000 local council staff, including teaching assistants, social workers, librarians and carers who look after people in their own homes.

The findings highlight how staff morale and working conditions have suffered as a result of government costcutting, with more than half a million jobs in local government axed since 2010.

Three quarters of council workers said workload and pressure have increased in the last 12 months, nearly two thirds believe morale has declined and nearly three quarters report rising stress levels.

Three in five respondents said they are working beyond their contracted hours with nearly a quarter doing unpaid overtime.

A key reason for staff shortages is that employers are failing to replace workers when they leave, according to more than one in five respondents.

Nearly two thirds of local government workers who took part in the survey have experienced a job review or reorganisation at work that has led to cuts both in staffing and resources in some cases.

UNISON’s head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Council staff are being worked into the ground because of government cutbacks.

“If you neglect the people who empty our bins, who support our children and care for our vulnerable relatives then you neglect the services we all depend upon.

“Everyone suffers if those on the front line are so stressed and undermined they cannot do their jobs properly.”