RMT Members and Mental Health

Head Office Circular NP/109/21
Our Ref: HSR/1/9
8th April 2021
The Secretary

Dear Colleague


I write with regards to the following resolutions from the RMT Scottish Regional Council:

Resolution 1
It is thought that as much as 1 in 3 people suffer from mental illness in any one year. A statistic like that would mean that over 3250 Scottish RMT members would be suffering from mental illness in the last year. The figures are startling.

There are organisations set up to help, with one being mentioned at previous Regional Council meetings being Andy's Men's Club - they meet every Monday between 7 - 9. They have many "clubs" around the country but when looking at their web-page not one in Glasgow or Aberdeen. When set up in Glenrothes they had 1200 attendees over the first 8 months.

Therefore, Glasgow Shipping Branch requests that the SRC helps facilitate these meetings by contacting the organisation and offering a meeting point within our regional offices, seek permission from the General Secretary and covers any associated costs in the hosting of the meetings.

Glasgow Shipping Branch recognise that other organisations exist, offering similar services and that we must be progressive in approach towards what is the biggest killer of men under 45 and that the Trade Union movement has to play their part in improving these statistics especially when the country starts to move out of lockdown.

Resolution 2
That this Branch and Region notes the continuing upsurge in mental health cases all across the UK many of which are directly linked to the Covid pandemic and all of the other issues associated with it, like employment security, lay off, home working etc resulting in poor mental health affecting our members both at home and at work. We wish to highlight the fantastic work that bodies like “Andy's Man Club” do and all the other independent mental health initiatives across the UK.

Further we also note the NEC recently implemented an employee assistance program for officers and staff as another example of good practice. However, we are concerned that despite this and numerous AGM decisions setting out what we expect of employers, we as a Trade Union don’t have anything to offer should our members turn to us as their union for help, rather than their respective employer.

We therefore instruct the National Executive Committee to do the following;
Investigate the options for an assistance programme to be rolled out to members as part of a membership benefit.
Identify a national mental health support charity that we as a union can affiliate to and work with to further our initiatives on a national basis.
Produce an RMT booklet to include numerous external mental health support contact details.
To coincide with mental health week 2021 we hold an annual national RMT mental health day highlighting what we as a union do/expect/offer.
To regularly review what the union does and what we offer to members on a yearly basis around mental health and look to continuously improve on the support services we offer.”

In relation to the above resolutions, at its meeting on 1st April 2021, your National Executive Committee (NEC) noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety sub-committee:

Resolution 1:
We note the resolution from the Scottish Regional Council.

The General Secretary is instructed to link this file with the main file (RMT members and mental health) for regular reviews of what RMT is doing in this area.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.
Resolution 2:
We note the resolution from the Scottish Regional Council.

The General Secretary is instructed to investigate the issues raised within the resolution. Additionally, the General Secretary is instructed to arrange RMT’s participation on an annual basis in Mental Health Week (2021’s week being 10th - 16th May) and to publicise RMT’s involvement.

Any reports to be placed back in front of this NEC.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you advised of developments.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary