June 18, 2007

Leeds Met staff stressed and losing sleep over management bullying - UK

Over two thirds (68%) of staff surveyed at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) have suffered stress because of bullying from their managers. A similar number (67%) said they had become angry as a result of how they were treated and over three fifths had lost sleep (62%) or become anxious (61%).

The survey of UCU members at LMU paints a worrying picture of a bullying culture at the university. The survey was sparked by fears from the local union branch that staff members' health was suffering because of a bullying culture. The union was forced to survey its members after the university's human resources (HR) department refused to.

The union says that an early indication of the bullying culture was a unilateral ban on staff leave during graduation week and the two week staff development 'festival', followed by a thinly veiled threat to sack those who did not participate. The festival coincides with the end of the summer holidays, a time when schools are still on holiday, and many parents wish to be with their families.

The survey confirmed the union's concerns that, despite protestations from HR, leave during the two periods was not being granted. Ninety per cent of those surveyed said they had been refused leave during these periods.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The behaviour of the management at Leeds Metropolitan University is clearly having a demoralising effect on the staff. A decent work - life balance is crucial to staff being able to do their jobs properly. Even more worrying are the revelations in the survey about the impact the management's approach is having on staff's health.'

UCU regional official, Adrian Jones, said: 'The vice-chancellor claims the university aims to enhance well-being by promoting an ethical, healthy environment, ethos and community. The reality, revealed by the preliminary results of this survey, is very different. Besides the high levels of stress and anxiety, the survey reveals a climate of fear with 96% of those surveyed reporting that they felt inhibited about criticising polices of Leeds Met.'

From: http://www.ucu.org.uk
Is it time for another DIVESTORS OF PEOPLE award? Do we have any nominations coming from Leeds Metropolitan University? Do we know what the governors are doing about the situation?


Anonymous said...

Does Sally Hunt think this behaviour might be defined as bullying?

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Sally has a problem with the "B" word, for to acknowledge that it exists as a term in the workplace, would entail her doing something about it.

Sally managed to get through her recent election campaign without mentioning once the "B" word.

Like some of our managers she too likes to keep her head in the sand. God only knows what it will take to get her to engage with the"B" word.

It is absolutely amazing that our union does not take a high profile case and make a success out of it so as to teach a lesson to other abusive managers. All we have is nice leaflets, brochures and lots of sweet rhetoric.

Here is the example of Leeds Met, a well documented case, and what do we get: "'The behaviour of the management at Leeds Metropolitan University is clearly having a demoralising effect on the staff. A decent work - life balance is crucial to staff being able to do their jobs properly. Even more worrying are the revelations in the survey about the impact the management's approach is having on staff's health."

Fascinating! Any action?

Anonymous said...

Is anyone routinely plugging this site and the Divestors of People award on the academic networks? I don't remember the UK network, but here there is HEANet (the Higher Education Authority network) which is a place for adverts, bulletins and sharing information (and gossip). Staff a Leeds Metropolitan need to hear about this site.

Anonymous said...

The governors are like the emperor in "the emperor's new clothes"

Anonymous said...

I know staff at Leeds Metropolitan University are still being refused leave during the Graduation ceremonies and staff development festivals. Although I am aware that certain employees are being granted leave where others are not (irrespective of any involvement with the ceremonies) surely this is grounds for discrimination.

Anonymous said...

It looks like there are double standards on bullying, given that a celebrity famous for being bullied has just received an honorary doctorate from a University where leave isn't permitted this week.

Apparently a number of staff have been offered voluntary early retirement on wef 31st August but they are not being permitted to use unused leave 29-31st August due to the University's staff development festival

Anonymous said...

This years staff development is more bizarre than previous ones. We have been told that attendance at a Robby Williams Tribute band concert is compulsory. Failure to attend will result in disciplinary proceedings. Torture as well as bullying.

Anonymous said...

It seems that bullying at Leedsmet goes far higher than just the management. Apprantly even the wife of a very high offical is in on the act. This wife who swans around campus like she owns it, is getting cleaning staff sacked, forcing staff to be at her beck and call. The chain of bullying goes right to the top, and the news is that he is Opus Dei, prehaps this bullying is the work of god!!

When Leeds Met Sucked said...

On the subject of the Robbie Williams tribute artist, his performance was littered with derogatory, sexist, racist and facist jokes. I do not know ONE SINGLE PERSON who had any enthusiasm for the staff development "festival". It is widely regarded by talented staff as an utter waste of valuable time in the run-up to a new academic year. Some of the dead-wood, useless, sponger staff love it however - it gives them a fortnight to participate in some frankly ridiculous activities which don't stand a chance of helping them do their job better (if at all!), without fear of right and proper criticism from their line management!

Anonymous said...

When Leeds Met Sucked - I love it!
Leeds Met does indeed suck. I left there last September and now work for less money but a lot less pain. I still cringe when I drive through Leeds City Centre and see the 'when Leeds Met...'

How about 'when Leeds Met made all its staff either leave or want to leave...'.

Has anyone seen this one:
Guess who will be getting promoted!

Anonymous said...

When 'Leeds Met' someone who refused intimidation and bullying. I have had the unpleasent experience of being bullied by management at the great Leeds Met Carnegie. My complaint was strung out for an agonising 2 years(15 days is the universities outline). Simon Lee is the very reason why this is allowed to happen as he instigates much of the bullying himself, and could not care less if you are no use to him in some publicity stunt or another.

The ever increasing number of people who Mr. Lee feels fit to hand out doctorates to makes a mockery of the number of students who take a standard 3 or 4 years to gain their degrees.

Mr. Lee is it time to pack your bags and head for the USA promtly as you have been rumbled- and no amount of handing out doctorates,cheesy posters with cringeworthy sayings on in town, and money throwing partnerships will cover up the person you are with those who have had first hand experience of you- i think the figures were 63% & 96%- enough to get a high class degree (if you haven't been handed one for publicity of Brand Carnegie that is!)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen Simon Lees wife lately i hear she has an impressive array of colourful hats that Hyocynth Bouquet would be proud of. Simon Lee is more like Mr Burns from the Simpsons rather than the lovely Richard though!