Workload and stress

Rising workloads - linked to job and funding cuts and the increasing intensity of work in post-16 education - are a growing problem. UCU is committed to campaigning to control workloads and tackle performance management strategies and occupational stress and bullying in the sector.

The workload campaign uses the results for individual colleges and universities of our biennial occupational stress survey to highlight particular areas of concern related to stress and workload, and to encourage local negotiation with employers to tackle these issues.

This includes:

  • publication of the stress survey results by FE college and HE institution relating to workload demands and hours of work
  • publication of the stress survey results by FE college and HE institution relating to bullying
  • publication of the stress survey results on control and managerial support at work, with individual FEC and HEI data
  • publication of data on stress and workload in prisons.

2014 survey

UCU survey of work-related stress 2014 - summary of findings, Nov 14 [160kb]
UCU FE stress survey 2014 - report [2Mb]

We also hold a UCU anti-stress and bullying week which is a focus for raising awareness and an opportunity to include these issues in local campaigning and joint negotiations, and have launched the ' Workload is an Education Issue' campaign in FE and HE, with the support of the National Union of Students.

Stress poster slideshow As well as posters and stickers to help publicise 'UCU Anti-stress and Bullying Week', we also have leaflets for staff on what to do if you're experiencing problems at work with either stress or bullying - find these resources below.

Robust management or bullying?

Some employers accused of bullying often claim that it isn't bullying, it is simply a robust managerial approach; and that in an academic environment, staff should be able to deal with that by argument and debate. This simple questionnaire should help you test if your employer is a bully or merely 'robust': Robust management style or bullying? - UCU factsheet [131kb]

Campaign materials

Anti-stress leaflet - don’t wait until you are at breaking point [48kb]

Excessive workloads poster [42kb]

Bullies - don't let them get away with it poster [33kb]

'Ban bullying in education' leaflet [108kb]

'Workplace stress' leaflet [86kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - pressure gauge [358kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - head in hand [405kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - blood pressure [114kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - pile of papers [203kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - with doctor [108kb]

'Stress is a workplace hazard' sticker [20kb]

'Workplace violence - don't ignore it' poster - male [74kb]

'Workplace violence - don't ignore it' poster - female [67kb]

Bullies are a workplace hazard - poster [122kb]

Cyber-bullying is a workplace hazard - poster [77kb]

Staff notice: this is no place for... - poster [151kb]

No entry for bullies - poster [65kb]

No entry for bullies - poster 2 [90kb]

Hazards poster encouraging women to become safety reps


A copy of the England FE national agreement on workloads can be found at

Guidance on regulating working hours in further education colleges, Nov 09 (England) [275kb]

For further advice on the agreement

See also: Health and safety resource centre