Bullying is 'rife' at problem council
Almost 8 out of every 10 workers at Central Bedfordshire Council have been bullied or harassed at work, a union survey suggests, with the problem linked to an attempt to impose a new contract. GMB, which conducted the survey in response to complaints from members (Risks 510), is calling for an immediate halt to the bullying and 'a completely independent investigation in to the bullying culture by council management and councillors.' GMB branch secretary Martin Foster will present the results of the survey to the council chief executive on 25 July. The research found 79 per cent of respondents reported that they have been harassed, bullied or had experienced discrimination. The top reason workers said they had been bullied was related to the council's bid to impose a new contract, accounting for 41 per cent of the total. This was followed by workers saying they were targeted for the trade union activities (21 per cent). Calling for a 'fully independent investigation', GMB organiser Tony Hughes commented: 'The examples of bullying and harassment are a total indictment of the council as an employer and its complete failure to give even the most basis consideration to its workers.' The union said the council was 'a long way' short of complying with its duty of care to employees. It added: 'GMB is highly experienced in dealing with bullying at work and will take action to protect its members and their health which is so often the first victim of an environment of bullying and harassment.'
Issued: 15 July, 2011