Trade Union Congress (TUC) (2003). Alcohol and Work – A potent cocktail

 The TUC welcomes this initiative on alcohol harm reduction. Alcohol misuse is a problem which appears to be growing. It has the potential to rob people not only of their health, but their jobs, self-respect and family and friends. Assisting people who may have become dependent on alcohol is not just good for society but also good for business. The TUC and trade unions are keen to ensure that effective policies on alcohol are pursued at the workplace. This is very much a workplace issue.
The Trades Union Congress represents people at work in Great Britain, and this response has been developed in consultation with the 69 trade unions which between them have nearly 6.7 million members.

Looking at substance misuse across the whole population, most workforces will contain a proportion of individuals with an alcohol problem. In one study conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (Managing Absence – in Sickness and in Health), drink and drug related problems were one of the most common causes of sickness absence.

Another study in 1996 by the Reward Group for the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) found that an increasing number of businesses are reporting cases of substance misuse by their employees. A more recent study, published in Personnel Today in August 2000, by Alcohol Concern and Drugscope, reported that 60% of employers reported problems due to alcohol misuse and 27% reported problems due to drug misuse.

Studies of the whole population show that consumption of alcohol among women is rising and men are drinking the same levels they have for the past few years, despite national initiatives to reduce consumption. Employers are likely to face more and more incidences of problem alcohol use.

Regardless of this and the fact that the majority of personnel directors believe alcohol to be a problem at the workplace, the CIPD study shows that a large number of organisations (43%) do not have a drug and/or alcohol policy in place, and the vast majority (84%) do not run awareness programmes for staff. Where they have introduced policies, the focus is often on screening rather than a broader approach.

Members Area

Don't have an account yet? Sign up Now!

Forgot your Password?