UNISON vows to support young members bullied at work

‘Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment free of bullying and harassment’, delegates told

Three quarters of young members experience bullying and harassment at work – with 7% of those experiencing violence, conference has heard.

The saddening statistics were revealed in a survey conducted by the Scottish Young Members Committee.

The survey also showed that over 50% of these cases were not reported – the most common reason being that members did not realise that what they had experienced was classified as bullying or harassment.

And where cases were reported, only 5% of those people received any support from employers.

Bernadette Lafferty of South Lanarkshire branch told delegates that the health implications for young members included both mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress and depression, and physical problems.

The Scottish Young Members Committee has launched a bullying and harassment awareness campaign named ‘Gonnae No Dae That’ – ‘Please Don’t Do That’, which includes a guide for young workers with details of how UNISON can help and support them.

“Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment free of bullying and harassment,” said Ms Lafferty.

“The guide shows that people need to be more self-aware. You might think your actions are innocent, but what you say or do may affect others around you.”

Lucy Jones of the national young members’ forum said that bullying and harassment “was not just about bruises and broken bones, but the impact on mental health too.”

She urged branches to work with their young members and regional young member forums to run workplace events during Young Workers Month in November.

Conference heard many heartbreaking stories from young members who have experienced bullying.

And delegates passed the motion, calling on the NEC to support regions, branches and young members committees in developing materials to aid the recruitment of young workers and highlight the support that UNISON can offer those who are bullied in the workplace.