September 29, 2007

Plans for bullying enquiry at Leeds Met University (UK)

BBC 'Look North' has two news items that cover plans for a bullying enquiry by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Leeds Met University.

Info is available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/looknorthyorkslincs/latest_stories/

a) Plans for 'bullying' inquiry

         Leeds Metropolitan University Plans for an inquiry into alleged bullying at Leeds Metropolitan University have been revealed, and

b) Bullied at Uni, your response

         Leeds Met Uni A look at your response to allegations of bullying at Leeds Metroplitan University.

To view these reports you will need Real Player.
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No doubt for the situation to get so far, in this particular Higher Education Institution (HEI) bullying in the workplace must be endemic. No doubt also that there are many more HEIs with a similar problem. If you have the evidence, we suggest you contact the HSE and report all endemic occurrences of workplace bullying and how this affects staff.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

HSE said that they do not become involved in "individual cases". They said this despite my having provided evidence of widespread bullying and injuries to staff throughout my former HE employer. They also said that they no longer engage in enforcement but rather, they act in an advisory capacity, in accordance with new government policies.

"Thank you for your recent correspondence relating to your complaint about
XXXX University.

HSE considers stress at work to be very important, but is unable to become involved in individual cases of stress. If you wish to take the matter further I suggest you contact a solicitor, or your union if you are a member of one.

HSE now has a lot of information on managing work related stress on it's website, although this is aimed primarily at employers, not for individual
employees.

I am sorry that HSE cannot help you further.

Regards

Chris Edwards
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A follow up letter was then sent to the HSE demanding action and pointing out the fact that this was NOT an individual case of stress, but a widespread pattern. The respsone was as follows:

"Chris Edwards no longer works for the HSE.

Before he left, Mr Edwards said that he had raised your complaints with your former employer, received a satisfactory reply and there was nothing outstanding. He was to have written to you to let you know this, and I am sorry that he did not do so.

Regards
Margaret Pretty
HM Principal Inspector"

What is a "satisfactory" reply? Does that mean a simple denial of the allegations? Is that all that is necessary to keep HSE from performing a detailed investigation of serious allegations?

In this case, the death of a staff member from workplace related stress was the subsequent outcome.

But there's no problem there, of course, is there?

Anonymous said...

Very true that the HSE does not intervene for individual cases. However, if there are many cases or work-related stress and work-related bullying and names exist to show that a higher than normal number of staff are suffering, then the HSE might be interested.

All you need is a number of names and a number of signatures to back up the claim that you are not dealing with an individual case but an endemic case.

Of course it always helps if the UCU backs up such a claim where justified to do so, but one can dream...

Anonymous

Anonymous said...

UCU's refusal to engage appropriately and effectively in cases of workplace bullying is a disgrace.

I would tackle them about it except that I am so emotionally exhausted in trying to deal - on my own - with my experiences of alleged workplace bullying at my own university that I just can't do anything about it.....

My attempts to involve UCU have been hopeless - the only person who supported me effectively was someone who was leaving....

..... all members should keep writing to UCU to ask them why they do not provide appropriate support for members who believe they are being bullied .....

Write on ban bullying day to UCU... they should be overwhelmed by letters asking about their approach to members who believed they are bullied....

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Many of us are here because of the UCU's collusion with HR.


Anonymous said...

Many of us are here because of the UCU's collusion with HR.


Anonymous said...

Many of us are here because of the UCU's collusion with HR.


Anonymous said...

Many of us are here because of the UCU's collusion with HR.

Anonymous said...

At LeedsMet, local and national UCU officers have played an important role in bringing the problems to light. And I'm not one of them!

Anonymous said...

Hurray! At Leeds Met the UCU reps have done the right thing! Unbelievable but true. Now what about the remaining 120 HEIs around the country?

Anonymous said...

On Ban Bullying Day let us remember the UCU reps at Leeds who have worked to expose workplace bullying...

.. we need to hear about more reps who are working to support those of us who believe that we are being bullied....

... there are non in my uni....

.... the reps creep around silently...

.... in denial.....

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

is leeds met uni ok? cz i've heard sum stuff about it? let me no

Anonymous said...

I work at Leeds Met...the bullying is both overt and covert..part of a repressive culture..which began when the present VC arrived. Apparently he had a similar history at his previous university. There are many stories which circulate about his approach. e.g. he apparently has a black-list of staff he wants to remove. The result is a lot of fear including among the managers who owe their positions to him. It is strongly affecting morale and student satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

You've heard of the expression "the blind leading the blind". Leed Met is a case of the "unqualified promoting the inexperienced". The number of senior level academics, deans, associate deans and PLs who have nothing beyond an undergraduate degree has led to an environment of insecure, unqualified managers. And when people are insecure it leads to managers promoting similar types around them. And all of this is a classic environment for bullying to set in on an institutional level.

I worked at Leeds Met. I saw intelligent, PhD qualified individuals alienated, bullied and made to feel that a PhD was a handicap.

Anonymous said...

d

Anonymous said...

I guess some people would describe me as one of these overpromoted underqualified managers. I didn't used to be; how things change!

When I tried to stand up for someone I felt was being bullied by someone else of my level, I simply got shut out and a 'restructure' left me without a management role. All done very sneakily and I only really noticed after the deed had been done. I didn't have and still don't have the energy to fight it

I am looking for alternative employment but have so little confidence in my own ability now that I screw up every interview.

Some people think I have had my just deserts - I was a tough manager and often made unpopular decisions. However, I was never a bully. Now I think I have delusions of grandeur as I am the only person that notices I exist.

I know it sounds immodest but I used to be bloody good at my job. I really resent them taking that away from me.

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