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Monday, 3 January, 2000, 12:56 GMT
Civil servants 'stressed out'

stress graphic Civil servants say they are struggling to cope


Civil servants are suffering high levels of stress and overwork - and need more support, a union says.


Signs of stress
Aggression, irritability, anti-social feelings and suppressed anger
Concentration and sleeping difficulties
Eating too little or too much
Repeated colds or flu, headaches or nervous twitches
Drinking or smoking too much
Almost nine out of 10 complained of overwork or stress in a survey on health and safety, carried out by the Public and Commercial Services union.

Union chiefs are calling for urgent action to improve the civil servants' working lives.

Of several hundred workers who responded, most blamed their stress on staffing levels and workloads.

One in three said it was brought on by bullying and harassment from managers or members of the public.

Others complained of unrealistic targets, inadequate training and lack of support from managers.


Managing stress
People who see trees from their offices are less stressed
People who get up early in the morning have higher stress levels through the day
Experts advise talking, taking time out and eating sensibly
The union said the findings proved that urgent action was needed to improve working conditions in government departments.

A spokesman said: "We shall be seeking meetings with ministers in the New Year to try to ease stress because the results of this survey are shocking."

The union will send the survey results to the Cabinet Office.

The government has given its backing to a TUC crackdown on workplace bullying.

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See also:
05 Oct 98 |  UK
Minister backs bully boss crackdown
10 Aug 99 |  The Company File
Work: A stressful business
02 Sep 99 |  Medical notes
Stress at work: the pros and cons
10 Dec 98 |  UK Politics
Civil servants 'still too secretive'

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