Nominating section: Lancashire
Conference notes that 1 in 4 people will be affected by mental ill health at some point in their life. Mental ill health can affect a person’s ability to cope with the demands of everyday life. Work can be the catalyst for ﬁre service personnel where mental ill health can be directly attributed to repeated exposure to traumatic incidents and events, the impact of physical injuries and work load pressures. Fire and Rescue Services throughout the country are recognising the effects of mental ill health on their employees, many are pledging to support their employees by signing up to the Mind Blue Light campaign and similar mental health support services.
FBU Reps and Ofﬁcials are not excluded from this 1 in 4 count. The very nature of an FBU Rep role is to represent, support and advise our Members with FBU Reps holding these duties in the highest regard. The FBU Rep is the active listener to Members’ concerns, issues and hardships. Discipline and capability cases are often complex and require a high degree of research, planning and preparation where Reps will work around the clock to provide the strongest defence. The pressure to achieve acceptable negotiations between FBU Reps and Employers within the current political climate are virtually impossible. Failed or unacceptable negotiations still have to be communicated to Members and the messenger (the Rep) is often in the ﬁring line from frustrated Members following poor Employer decisions or decisions that the employee disagrees with. There have been cases where Reps have had no option but to resign from their duties, some have had duties removed from them for failing to perform. Reps have been isolated/victimised/bullied by Employers just for carrying out ofﬁcial duties. Reps will often turn to their Branch Secretary or another Rep for advice when dealing with these complex issues. While this unofﬁcial route serves a purpose for the short term or quick wins and advice it is recognised that there is no such qualiﬁed network available to our Reps currently that aims to monitor and support our Reps for the long term. With this in mind it is vitally important that we take into consideration the mental wellbeing of our FBU Reps and Ofﬁcials, to provide a qualiﬁed support network.
Conference asks the Executive Council to explore the feasibility of adopting an ofﬁcial mentoring programme that will be issued to all Reps in a bid to support them throughout their role. Supporting such a programme will show its dedicated Reps that the Executive Council are serious in supporting mental health within the Union structures.