Easington MP visits healthy trade union and employer project at Caterpillar site

Grahame Morris at Catterpillar Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, visited the Caterpillar Peterlee site today (Tuesday 21st September) to see for himself how the Northern TUC, trade unions and the employer are working together towards the common goal of a healthier workplace – and workforce, under the auspices of the Better Health at Work initiative.


All of the region’s NHS Primary Care Trusts and the Strategic Health Authority have recognised the value of working with the TUC and employers in delivering employee led initiatives in workplaces. So, the Better Health at Work award has been established to combat ill-health across the region. The process is simple; ‘Health Advocates’, are appointed - these individuals can be anyone in the workplace (but volunteers are very often Union reps).Then, after a health survey is carried out amongst the workforce, strategies and initiatives on relevant issues such as smoking cessation, Ride to Work schemes ,blood pressure checks, Cancer awareness sessions and Stress Busting workshops are offered. The ultimate aim is to provide support, advice, information and guidance on how improvements to health can be achieved.


Mr Morris was joined by Northern TUC Regional Secretary, Kevin Rowan, Senior Regional Unite Official, Mike Routledge and Phil Handley, Managing Director at Caterpillar Peterlee to take a guided tour of the site and hear first-hand about how they signed up to the ‘Better Health at Work Award’ and the innovative work being done to promote health and wellbeing for all employees.


Grahame Morris, MP for Easington said: ““This is a great example of how a responsible company can work constructively with its trade union to promote schemes which are beneficial for staff and for company productivity, through reduced absenteeism. Caterpillar Peterlee plays an important role in our local communities and is a strong supporter of the Sunderland AFC Foundation which provides significant opportunities for young people in Easington and across the region. I am pleased to see Caterpillar implementing its values to support its workforce and improve their personal health and lifestyle choices for the benefit of everyone involved.”




Mike Routledge, Regional Officer, Unite the union, said: “Far too often these days we are told negative things about trade unions and yet we contribute many positives for our members. Unite is pleased to endorse this innovative work to promote health and wellbeing for employees. It is good to see the partnership of trade union and employer working positively together to the benefit of Unite members at Caterpillar Peterlee, with the support of the local NHS”




Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional Secretary said: “Evidence of trade union contribution to improved health and wellbeing for individuals is clear and compelling; employers benefit from dramatically lower levels of absenteeism and increased productivity -there are few more apparent win-win situations. As trade unions and employers step up their partnership work in this area, with the support and encouragement of the health service, these benefits will grow. Well over 100 employers have now signed up to the award and all of the regional trade unions have endorsed involvement.  It is great to see all of this in practice at Caterpillar Peterlee.”



Phil Handley Managing Director of Caterpillar Peterlee is very supportive of the ‘Better Health at Work’ initiative he said: “This is an initiative we feel compelled to get involved with, it is a perfect match with our Caterpillar Values in Action a clear link to our commitment to people. Raising awareness of what we can all do to improve our health and well-being brings tremendous benefits to our people and to our business. I am very pleased with the partnership we have in place between our on site Unite Union representatives, the NHS and Caterpillar Peterlee there is some outstanding work going on. We have been working on a smoking cessation program through this year and in October we begin our next program on raising Cancer awareness.”