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EXCL Union offers Labour staff legal advice amid concerns about their 'health and well being'

EXCL Union offers Labour staff legal advice amid concerns about their 'health and well being'
3 min read

A major trade union is offering Labour staff legal advice amid rising concerns that working for the party is affecting their "health and well being", PoliticsHome can reveal.

The GMB has written to members of its Labour branch giving them the opportunity to attend "a one to one drop-in session" with its employment law specialists.

It says those members have been raising concerns for "months" about their working conditions.

The move follows last week's Panorama programme, in which former Labour employees claimed the party's attempts to tackle its anti-Semitism crisis had damaged their mental health and, in one case, left a senior official contemplating suicide.

In their message to its members working for the party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, the union says: "The GMB has become aware of a number of issues that have been raised by members, working for the Labour party, over the past few weeks and months, that is giving rise to concerns about members' health and well being. 

"We are considering offering staff the opportunity to attend a one to one drop in session with one of the GMB's employment law specialists and if this would be of interest to you please email me back and we can arrange it ASAP."

In a separate development, the same union's Labour branch has passed a motion claiming staff are facing "a mental health crisis ... caused by the culture, rise in anti-Semitism and unsustainable workloads".

The motion says: "As trade unionists, it is unacceptable for an employees workload or the culture of an organisation to cause staff to have breakdowns or to contemplate suicide.

"The fact that there is even a suggestion that this culture exists within the Labour party is reprehensible and a source of great shame."

It also condemns Labour's decision to attack the whistleblowers who spoke to Panorama, and the "obscene" decision to threaten those who broke gagging orders to speak out with legal action.

The motion says: "Anti-Semitism is a sickness which will spread if given the freedom to do so. It should be condemned and challenged wherever it rears its head.

"Whistleblowers do so at enormous personal risk and should be commended and supported, never attacked – particularly not by the Labour party.

"All employees or former employees, regardless of the organisation, should be  free to act as whistleblowers without obscene threats of legal action."

Labour MP Wes Streeting said: "Labour staff are taking a courageous stand against anti-Semitism and must be supported. This is an unprecedented motion.

"Jeremy Corbyn must confirm that no action will be taken against whistleblowers and put an immediate end to the grubby spin operation against Panorama that he is leading." 

In response a Labour spokesperson told PoliticsHome: “The Labour party is proud to encourage trade union membership among staff to secure representation and offer advice and support on a wide range of issues including health and safety, pay, pensions and workplace rights. 

“The Labour party is committed to fulfilling our duty of care to our staff, and all employees of the Labour party have access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which provides confidential support, including counselling. This service is widely advertised to employees throughout the organisation.”

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