Most charity staff suffer from anxiety due to their work, union survey finds

23 May 2024 News

By mojo_cp/Adobe

The vast majority of charity and not-for-profit staff experience anxiety, tiredness and trouble sleeping due to their work, according to a newly published survey by a worker’s union.

In response to a Unite survey of 1,891 sector employees in December, 69% of workers said they suffered from anxiety due to their work, while 68% reported continual tiredness and 66% sleeplessness.

One in 20 workers said they usually worked more than 50 hours a week.

Some 86% of respondents said they had suffered from stress at work, while 12% said bullying or harassment caused them a high level of stress and 9% said this was due to discrimination.

One worker, who is employed by a children’s charity, said: “I experience bullying and discrimination from my manager.

“Staff are not allowed to voice an opinion otherwise we face repercussions, such as worse treatment or changes to pay. There is a disturbing and toxic work atmosphere.”

Some 60% of workers said they were worse off financially than they were 12 months earlier despite 61% reporting that they had received a cost-of-living pay increase in the past year.

Union: Management ‘exploiting our members’

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the figures showed that workers faced “mental ill health on an industrial scale”.

Andy Murray, Unite national officer, said: “Management within the not-for-profit sector is exploiting our members’ dedication to their respective causes – forcing them to work excessive hours.

“Mental health is a serious matter. No one should feel unsafe or unhappy at work. This is a collective issue for our members and by working alongside our reps we will ensure real change is achieved.”

The union is campaigning for all employers to undertake workplace stress risk assessments and is calling for legislation to lawfully cementing this as a duty.

Unite recently launched a campaign called United Minds to provide information for its members with mental health issues.

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the free Civil Society daily news bulletin here.


More on