February 14, 2007

Sally Hunt or Roger Kline - Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee [and yes, there is a third candidate - Peter Jones]

It is almost certain that Sally Hunt will win the election for General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU). She will have done so without mentioning at all the 'B' word (Bullying).

The vote of course is not compulsory and chances are that since none of the two candidates (Sally Hunt, Roger Kline) have 'excited' us with their promises, the turn out (return of ballots from the membership) is likely to be low. An early indication of this is the following:

'...it is a shame only 12 of the 600 UCU members at Westminster have turned out to hear them. But professional troupers perform however small the house. And Kline and Hunt are used to it: attendance at hustings everywhere has been worryingly low, though 50 turned up at Sheffield...' The Guardian

As members of the union (UCU), we have a number of options:

1. Vote for Sally Hunt.
2. Vote for Roger Kline.
3. Don't vote at all - as some argue, if we vote we are only encouraging them - or
4. Write on the ballot paper 'WHAT ABOUT WORKPLACE BULLYING IN ACADEMIA' - which of course will make the vote invalid.

Since it is a foregone conclusion that Sally Hunt will win the election, our position is to vote for none of them and to 'spoil' the ballot paper by writing your own statement on the ballot paper against workplace bullying in academia. This may not change the course of history, but it may - it just may - get the scrutineers on both camps to think - we hope - about the issue for twenty seconds. Of course the more spoiled ballots they count, the better.

Ballot papers have to be returned by March 7, and the result is out on March 9. No newspaper, no union official, no representative of Sally or Roger will ever acknowledge such spoiled ballots, but a statement has to be made. In effect, both candidates are fighting a turf war with plenty of uninspiring rhetoric for us the docile voters.

If you are concerned about workplace bullying in academia, then make a statement. Don't abstain. Don't vote for either one of the candidates, it only encourages them. Vote against workplace bullying in academia. Use your ballot to make a principled statement - this is our position.
We have received a number of posts, comments, emails reminding us that there are in fact three candidates for the position of general secretary of UCU:
The reason we have concentrated on Sally and Roger is due to the general acknowledgement that Peter - at best - has a very slim chance of being elected. This does not mean that he should not or could not be supported. The campaign of the ‘other’ Left candidate (Peter Jones), died before it was born after the SWP decided to back Kline.


Anonymous said...

Posted on Sally Hunt's blog.

Sally - I implore you to look at the website JFO - just fight on - it contains the story of someone who works in a university who tried to end his life because of workplace bullying in academia.

In your manifesto you mentions lots of really important issues - however I don't think that those issues are life threatening...

....people try to commit suicide because of work place bullying - it wrecks lives and families -

...why are you so silent about it?

Anonymous said...

Posted on Sally Hunt's Blog

Quotes on bullying from the late Tim Field - bullyonline

November 1999
"One would not expect a victim of rape to have to single-handedly identify, trace, catch, arrest, prosecute, convict and punish the person who raped her. Targets of bullying often find themselves doing all of these whilst those in positions of authority persistently abdicate and deny responsibility."

January 2000
"Nothing can prepare you for living or working with a sociopathic serial bully. It is the most devastating, draining, misunderstood, and ultimately futile experience imaginable."

April 2000
"Being bullied by a serial bully is equivalent to being stalked or being battered by a partner or being abused as a child and should be accorded the same gravity."

January 2002
"Recently there's been a trend to apply the term "bullying" to any kind of conflict at work, for example overwork and long hours. Although some bullying behaviours may be present in these issues, in my view this dilutes and devalues the term "workplace bullying" which should be used only for the more serious cases of conflict involving a serial bully. If there isn't a serial bully involved, it's probably not bullying you're dealing with."

April 2002
"It is the lack of knowledge of, or the unwillingness to recognise, or the deliberate denial of the existence of the serial bully which is the most common reason for an unsatisfactory outcome for both employee and employer."

July 2004
"Good management and bullying have as much in common as great sex and rape."

When I first came across his website I wept...


...because someone finally understood what i was going through......

Anonymous said...

Posted on Sally Hunt's blog.

I have posted comments from Petra Boynton's Blog where she discusses some of the issues surrounding her research into work place bullying.

The research was published in the Times Higher in 2005. Did you read it Sally? Do you remember what it said? They were probably the members of your union who took part in that research.

Why are you so silent about bullying?

Petra reflects upon some of the possible comments about her research:

Studying bullying is going to upset people, can you be sure you didn’t cause distress?

We took every step not to cause distress. The study was ethically checked before it went live and fully piloted. All participants were shown a list of help resources before and after completing the study, and were given my contact details in case of concern or complaint. Anyone who got in touch with me was also referred to support services for bullying.

So those are the answers to the commonly mentioned criticisms about research, which no doubt will be used to dismiss this study.

All I ask is for you to think about what participants told us consistently ‘ don’t just use this for research – please help us!’

Our job as researchers is to reflect our participants fairly and to help them where we can.

I hope this study will get a fair hearing also – since those 800+ people who were brave enough to speak for the countless others being bullied aren’t just another statistic.

What will your job be Sally if you are leader of this union?

Why does Petra Boynton become involved in research on bullying yet you remain silent?

Why Sally?

Go to her blog and read what she says about her research...

Anonymous said...

Posted on Sally Hunt's blog

They first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Anonymous said...

Posted on Sally Haunt's blog

From the late Tim Field's website

In most bullying situations, the target of bullying finds themself isolated and alone. Work colleagues, who may formerly have been friendly and supportive, melt away and the target is left feeling like a pariah and an outcast.

There are many reasons why colleagues at work fail to come to the aid of a fellow worker being bullied. These include:

the bully has gone round the department and warned everybody off, often using implied threats of reorganisation (redundancy), restructuring (redundancy) or even disciplinary action against anyone who helps the target
the bully creates a climate of fear where everybody is afraid to speak out or take action
fear of reprisal
very few people, when put to the test, have the integrity and moral courage to stand up against bullying, harassment, corruption etc; the target is selected often because they do have this moral courage; most people will pass by on the other side, only targets have the integrity to be a good Samaritan

Anonymous said...

Sally are you DEAF ?????????????????????

Anonymous said...

Following up on comment 7:53 AM

A larger number becomes dependent on antidepressants...years after the bullying stops.

That is permanent damage. When you cannot tolerate people and work without medication.

aren't there three candidates?

Anonymous said...

I noticed a comment by Sally Hunt about bullying in the following article:

PROVOCATION – AUT denounces threat to cut lecturers wages

Oh, I just noticed, this was back in May 2006.