Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector
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Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Silvia Pignata

This timely Handbook addresses the concepts of stress and well-being among workers in various public sector roles and occupations across the globe. Emphasizing the importance of well-being and stress prevention initiatives in ever-changing workplace environments, this Handbook highlights successful organizational initiatives and provides insight into best practice for promoting healthy employees and workplaces. Containing contributions from leading international experts in their respective fields, the contributors hope that this multi-disciplinary Handbook will help to enhance the health and well-being of public sector employees.
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Chapter 3: Trade unions and stress at work: the evolving responses and politics of health and safety strategies in the case of the United Kingdom

Miguel Martínez Lucio

Abstract

The chapter aims to explain the way trade unions have developed a range of strategies in relation to questions of stress at work in the public sector of the United Kingdom. The responses are outlined in relation to various dimensions: the relation between trade unions and the state, the collective realm of the trade union representation, the individual support and guidance trade unions provide to workers, and the social and community dimension of trade union engagement. Across these four dimensions there have been highly proactive strategies related to responding to the emergence of higher levels of stress at work. In terms of challenges, the following are outlined as being significant: the growing neoliberal orientation of the state and challenges to trade union presence, the manner in which employers and managers have tried to monopolize or abuse – on occasions – the discourse of well-being to limit trade union roles and to individualize the issue of stress, and the way organizational and political pressure on trade unions are creating barriers in terms their strategic abilities to respond to changes at work.

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