February 25, 2007

UCU Elections - Make a statement: Vote invalid


Anonymous said...

Go onto the Amicus website and do a keyword search for bullying and see what Amicus are doing to address bullying.

This will be posted on Sally Hunt and Roger's blog.

It might give them some useful ideas.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

You have my energy and my enthusiasm (what there is of it).

Everywhere there are groups working hard to shift the silence and denial that surrounds workplace bullying...

We have to work on lots of fronts - there will not be one way...

Those who 'just fight on' rather than those who 'just walk away' will make a difference...

Those with courage....those who care...

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...


You might find it useful to look on the Amicus website and see the range of activities that that union have been involved in in relation to workplave bullying. Might give UCU some ideas??

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...


I find the silence on your blog very very depressing.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Sally and Peter (as Roger is now in South Africa upon the death of his father inlaw)

- google Robyn Mann - this will take you to the web page of Human Resources at Adelaide University -

- read the paper by Robyn Mann who is studying for a doctorate - she has herself been a victim of workplace bullying -

-maybe this paper will be helpful in enabling you to understand aspects of psychological abuse which some of your members have been suffering.

This paper is on the web page of HR at Adelaide. Are there any British universities which have such information on their HR web pages?

In 2005 Petra Boynton who researched workplace bullying in academia emailed Sally because one of the findings of the research was that some members feel that there is collusion between HR and the unions...

....I don't think they saw that collusion in a positive light - HR in British universities are not yet playing an effective role in disputes related to bullying...

..there is a long way to go...

...nevertheless it is good to see the progress that can be made...

Extracts from Robyn Mann’s paper:

This paper discusses one form of abuse in the workplace: sustained psychological abuse. This form of abuse systematically undermines self-esteem and destroys self-confidence by undermining the rights of the victim. Its subtlety is insidious; those people perpetrating the abuse are masters at disguising their actions and the effect on the victim is difficult to detect or to isolate. Furthermore, those inflicting the damage do not see their behaviour as wrong or unjust because they can justify their actions as being for the good of the company or the workgroup.

Its (psychological abuse) subtlety is insidious; people perpetrating this abuse are masters at disguising their negative actions, and the effect on the target is difficult to isolate and link directly with the negative actions. Often the initial working relationship includes positive actions of acceptance, praise and welcome and then later the negative actions are interspersed with praise, particularly in public. Furthermore, those inflicting the damage do not see their behaviour as wrong or unjust because they justify their actions as being for the good of the organisation. This form of abuse systematically undermines self-esteem and destroys self-confidence. Targets being to doubt their own judgement and develop a skewed perception of reality.

Psychological abuse in the workplace cannot be sustained in a vacuum. Nor can it exist without support from the organisation. If an organisation does not condone psychological abuse, it will quickly be quashed by the stakeholders at every level of the organisation. Even though an organisation might claim it does not condone psychological abuse, perpetrators will ply their abusive skills if management chooses to ignore the abusive behaviour, trivialise claims of psychological abuse or put reporting procedures in place that deter from making complaints. For some the task of following the drawn out complicated, time consuming process of filing a formal complaint only to have it dismissed for lack of tangible evidence sends them further into the depths of despair and self-doubt. As a side effect of a negative outcome, the abuser’s actions are legitimised and supported.

…If each action is taken separately and out of context, it can probably be justified as legitimate workplace actions or intermittent human failing. Although isolated intimidating actions causes distress and are not acceptable behaviour, when actions are targeted at an individual continually over a period of time the effect often overwhelms the target because there is no time between bouts to recover and rationalise the behaviour. The negative actions do not necessarily conform to any rule or order, but over a period of time each negative action targeted at the individual contributes to a meaningful gestalt. The negative actions occur frequently enough to maintain an intimidating atmosphere and confusion of the part of the target.

Robyn researches Psychological abuse in the workplace. Psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors throughout Australia use her work to help targets of psychological abuse at work understand what happened to them and why they experienced such a debilitation reaction. Her work is influenced by her experiences as a manager with a psychological abuser on staff, the counsellor of a manager suffering psychological abuse at work and finally being the target of psychological abuse at work herself.

Robin is presently enrolled in PhD programme at Deakin University in Melbourne.

Anonymous said...

Roger Kline has given lots of useful practical advice about dealing with bullying in the THES article 2/3/07 - can we believe what he says - or are these election tactics...

...Sally Hunt (V-Cs pay - same issue THES ) remains silent and does not use the b word in the article ... her list of the issues that staff face daily does not include bullying... maybe Sally lives in a different world - a world where there are no bullies.. we're not there yet Sally

And Peter Jones comes from the world of HE and knows about the world in which we struggle to combat dysfunctional relationships...

,,,so there have been moves and soon we must all decide who will be the leader... a leader with soul is needed.... a leader with courage...

....bullying kills...

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Posted on Sally Hunt's blog the day before the election results.

Sally - I regret very much that you chose not to engage with those of us who are fighting a hard battle against workplace bullying.

Petra Boynton's research suggests that it is rife in academia. Recently I have read about academics who have tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide as a result of bullying.

I too am trying to engage with practices in my university that I believe are bullying. Many people have just walked away from the university - sensibly one might say. I chose to stay and engage with practices that I believe have wrecked my academic career.

The internal survey at the university, like those at other universities, suggests that people believe they are being bullied.

No-one has to date engaged with the issues that I have raised re workplace bullying. I feel very alone. The effect on my health concerns me. Stress is very destructive.

However I am one of the lucky ones. I have not had to resort to medication.

If UCU won't speak up about workplace bullying how are we to move forward. Petra Boynton's research in 2005 suggested that people believed that there is collusion between HR and UCU. That is very very worrying.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Posted on Roger's blog the day before the election results


You have spoken out about workplace bullying in the THES article (2/3/07). You have given lots of practical advice.

Thank you. That means a lot to those of us in UCU who believe that we are being bullied by the colleagues with whom we work.

Bullying is of course not illegal.

I have spoken out in my university about practices that I believe constitute workplace bullying. To date the issues that I have raised in relation to these practices have been ignored.

I hope that your trip to South Africa was not all sorrow. It is good to remember good people. My mother-in-law was an activist.

We now wait for the results.

I share your concern re the counting of the votes.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

So it was close run and Sally Hunt has been appointed with only 52% of votes after a recount when Peter Jones' votes were redistributed.

The three candidates were apparently not allowed to be present during the count...it is unclear why not????

In whose intererests would it be for them not to be present?

The 52% indicates that members are not convinced about Sally being the leader of the only union that academics can turn to when they are bullied.

We have a leader who refused to engage with issues of work place bullying. Who did not engage with issues on her blog and publish any commentsa that were posted up. Who does not have a strong mandate for leadership....

However as leader she has an awesome responsibility and will maybe explain to those of us who are targets of bullying why, although she seemed to like stories, she did not want to engage with our story.

We are in your hands Sally Hunt....