Bullying and harassment of local government workers must stop

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2017 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2017

This conference notes the bullying and harassment survey conducted by UNISON’s national young members’ forum in young workers month 2016.

Highlights of great concern in the survey with respect specifically to young members in local government were:

1)One third were unaware of whether their employer had a policy on addressing bullying and harassment;

2)One quarter felt they would be treated worse at work if they made a complaint about bullying and harassment;

3)One third had been bullied and/or harassed at work;

4)Of those who had been bullied, one third had to take time-off work because of it, 4 people needed medical treatment, and one was hospitalised.

This conference further notes that this is not an issue confined to young workers, and that women, Black, disabled, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members are also disproportionately likely to experience bullying and harassment at work.

This conference believes that for local government to be an attractive proposition for young and other workers, local government employers must be clear on providing a welcoming employment environment, and must commit to eradicating bullying and harassment.

This conference agrees that we must have a zero tolerance policy on bullying and harassment and calls on the local government service group executive to:

a) prioritise bullying and harassment policies and practices in negotiations with local government employers;

b) campaign in young workers month (November 2017) on the theme of bullying and harassment including

i) providing guidance to all local government branches on challenging bullying and harassment, recognising it as often arising as an individual case, but one which can be dealt with as an organising issue;

ii) encouraging all local government branches to raise the issue with their employer(s), and call for the employer(s) to reissue their bullying and harassment policy to all staff;

iii) use case studies to promote the issue through social media and other communication channels.