#ulgc16 South Lanarkshire branch highlighted the increased workload pressures faced by local government workers as a result of the cuts agenda, leading to stress, overwork and rises in workplace bullying.
This can be a particular problem for young members and local government delegates backed a campaign to raise awareness of the impact of the cuts and support to branches to negotiate effective policies to tackle this growing problem.
Moving the motion, South Lanarkshire young member Bernadette Lafferty, told conference that for the past year the Scottish young members committee has been developing an awareness campaign about bullying and harassment in the workplace.
The campaign, is called ‘Gonnae NO Dae That’ and Bernadette helpfully explained “to those who have not been exposed to the literacy skills of Rab C Nesbit, that means please don’t do that.”
Bernadette added, “The campaign has been a great success and we have produced a guide to help members understand what bullying is, what you can do about it and the health implications it has, alongside some case studies and other useful information.”
She warned that bullying and harassment at work are common problems and young people in the onset of a new career or working life need support from their colleagues and their union.
“But it doesn’t always work out that way,” she warned.
A Scottish young members committee survey showed a shocking 75% of young people had experienced bullying in the workplace and in the local government sector that figure was even higher at 85%, but more than half of those didn’t understand what is classed as bullying so therefore it went unreported and unresolved.
Bernadette added, “Being bullied has a serious detrimental effect on a person’s health and wellbeing causing stress, anxiety, depression which leads to other physical ailments and time off work and, in some extreme reports, thoughts of or even attempts of suicide.
“With increased pressures at work caused by the continued cuts it’s likely that bullying at work will increase and potentially be a major issue for LG branches.
“This is why it’s important to make this a national campaign aimed at the Local Government workforce and to produce guidance for members and reps on how to help as well as encouraging sector committees to raise awareness with employers the importance of tackling bullying at work.
“Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment, free from bullying, harassment or intimidation.”
Local Government Reports by Kate Ramsden, Marie Quigley and John Stevenson