stressed-at-workAround 87 per cent of local government employees are struggling to cope with increased stress and pressure at work, according to a survey of 14,000 staff by Unison. The union has called on the government to allow councils to give workers a pay rise.

The union reckoned 72 per cent of workers said stress was affecting how well they did their jobs and 70 per cent said workplace stress was affecting their personal lives. At the same time, 60 per cent said they were not paid fairly for the work they did and 53 per cent had personal debts, with 11 per cent owing more than £20,000.

The union used the survey to back up its call for the government to slow down cuts imposed on local authorities. The union is calling on employers, currently consulting on a pay offer, to recognise that councils cannot function without their dedicated workforce, and to ease the pressure of the three year long pay freeze.

Heather Wakefield, head of local government at Unison, said: “Working in local government is like living in a pressure cooker and eventually the lid will blow off. Workers can’t take any more. Multi-billion pound cuts – and 250,000 job losses as calls for services increase – means impossible demands are being placed on stressed out council workers. And the stress at home continues. The pay freeze means it’s a constant financial juggling act as red bills pile in and wages just don’t match up.”

She added: “The government has to ease the pressure on councils, allow them to pay staff a rise this year and slow the cuts and closures to give the public the services they need in this hour of need.”