Almost 70 per cent of workers say the quality of their job is getting worse, according to a Scottish Parliament survey. Most had been in their job for more than five years and 68 per cent of this group said work was getting worse. Key factors include low pay, poor management and insecure employment.
More than 60 per cent said their mental or physical health had been impacted by their job, with almost 90 per cent of that group mentioning stress, anxiety or depression.
Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “On the whole jobs have become worse since 2008.
“Though there is an ever-increasing awareness of what a good job involves and requires (the importance of aspects such as fairness, equality and work life balance are greater understood and emphasised), there are fewer full-time jobs, there are fewer well-paid jobs and there is less job security.”
NHS Health Scotland said risks to workers’ health was the highest in elementary jobs, sales and customer service, process, plant and machine operative and caring and leisure positions. According to the most recent Annual Population Survey, these occupations account for around one third of the labour force.
The Unite union said tensions in the labour market had created a problem with “presenteeism”, where staff ignore health troubles and continue working for fear that taking sick leave could cost them their livelihood. The union said: “Around one third of sick people are going in to work with stress due to workload and a further 13 per cent with fear of being made redundant. When they do attend work they are unfortunately subjected to extreme stress levels leading some workers to suffer bouts of mental ill health.
Citizens Advice Scotland told the enquiry the number of work-related cases it was handling had gone up 12 per cent from around 45,100 in 2011-12 to more than 50,600 in 2014-15. During that time, it experienced “particularly sharp increases” in matters of pay and entitlements, dispute resolution and self-employment.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress said: “Feedback from trade union workplace representatives across the economy strongly suggests that the quality and security of employment has deteriorated since the recession started in early 2008.
“Adverse trends which were apparent prior to 2008 – eg underemployment, zero hours contracts – have become more deeply embedded over the past seven years with the rising prevalence of insecure work a particular concern. Although concerns around insecurity tend to focus on zero hours contracts, it is important to note other insecure forms of work are also increasingly common.”