June 03, 2006

Workplace bullying and the insignificance of (academic) trade unions

Quotes from emails:

'...After 2-3 years of inaction and no support from my union, with the last few months on medication and receiving mental health councelling, all this while on suspension because I tried to expose institutionalised bullying, and while I watch the serial bully being promoted and taking over my office, I very reluctantly decided to write to the top persons in my union a very polite letter reminding them that I have not received the support I needed. This is the reply I received: "Our union does not have a specialist on workplace bullying to deal with your case now. We do not normally use any specialist consultant..."

'...After the TUC (Trades Union Congress) I will be writing to the ILO, and then last I will resign my union membership making sure that the media know why...'

'...The trade unions already see, realise, understand the plague of bullying in the workplace. They are quite happy with it. That is the way things are meant to be. One man's [or woman's] workplace bullying is another man's [or woman's] strong management / flexible workforce mantra...'

'...It is one thing to have my employers not understanding bullying, and it is another thing if the union itself is ignorant...'

'...I have no doubt that unions and TUC are hopeless [with workplace bullying]. I still think it is worthwhile showing the world how hopeless they are - at a cost of a stamp...'

'...The TUC general secretary will say that he has no powers to intervene in the affairs of an individual trade union. The TUC is simply the trade union's trade union... I would have been relatively happier if my trade union had maintained indifference. They ended up working against me by destroying and delaying documents, passing confidential info to my employers, all sorts of things...'

'...I have first hand experience of one particular union that has sat on its hands twice, in cases I have seen and been involved in. That union of shame is XXXXXX. No wonder so many health workers live in fear, there is no protection whatsoever...'

'...The actions of my union have damaged my mental health and sense of trust far worse that the bullying of my employer...'

How to make TUC and trade unions more accountable.
From Freedom of Information Act, Department of Constitutional Affairs:

'...If an organisation is not covered by the Act, it might be possible to bring it within the scope of the Act at a later date by either amending the list in Schedule 1, or by designating it as a public authority... If an organisation doesn't meet the conditions for inclusion in Schedule 1, section 5 of the FOI Act gives the Secretary of State a power to designate private organisations as public authorities if either:
  • they appear to him to be performing functions of a public nature; or
  • they are carrying out functions under contract with a public authority which would otherwise be up to the authority to provide.'

No designations have been made yet... Are you thinking what I am? I can see the newspaper headlines: Union members lobby Secertary of State to make TUC accountable by designating it as a public authority!

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