STUC survey of young workers and school students reveals concerns about quality of work, stress at work and worries about the future.

April 13th 2014

At STUC Congress today (Monday 14th April), the STUC Youth Committee will reveal the preliminary results of an ongoing survey on young people’s experience of work.

The survey reveals that more than half of young people regularly felt stress in the workplace, with 30% feeling they had been bullied at work, (the majority being bullied by managers with some being bullied by fellow workers). 30% had been subjected to verbal abuse by customers. 25% believed that such negative workplace experiences were directly connected to their age.

44% of those in work were in part-time employment, nearly half of whom were on zero-hours or short-hours contracts. Those on zero-hours contracts were most likely to be working fewer hours than they needed to get by financially. More than one in ten of those surveyed had used Pay-Day lenders.

The survey also reveals a clear distinction between those working in the public sector and in unionised workplaces and those in the private sector and/or non-unionised workplaces. Of those earning the Living Wage or more, 86% were in unionised workplaces. 85% of those working in the public sector were paid the Living Wage, a figure which falls to 22% for those in the private and voluntary sectors. Whilst pay for young people is generally better in the public sector, levels of stress are as bad or worse as in other sectors.

Of the school pupils and students surveyed, 81% said they were worried about their working future with concerns about gaining secure future employment the main cause.

In a speech to STUC Congress on Monday Afternoon, STUC Youth Committee member Mark Lynch will say:

“These preliminary, findings reveal a very diverse set of workplace experiences. There is a worrying level of workplace stress and bullying and evidence that age is a factor.

“Young people have real fears for the future and this is hardly surprising considering that so many of their peers are working on zero-hours and short-hours contracts with little job security and massive uncertainty over pay”

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:

“Whilst there has been some improvement in the outlook on youth unemployment in the past year, it is clear that for too many young people work is not a path out of financial insecurity and very often their experience is of stress and bullying in the workplace.

“Being a union member and working in a unionised workplace clearly makes a difference, but there also needs to be a culture shift amongst employers and recognition by government at all levels that we need to do more than simply provide work. Quality and quantity matter if we are to create the future quality workforce on which a sustainable economy must be built”

ENDS

For further information contact Ian Tasker 0141 337 8100

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