Victims turn to unions for help

Bullied employees are twice as likely to approach their trade union for help
as the company personnel department, according to analysis by two leading
experts.

Research published last week by Professor Cary Cooper and Helge Hoel, of the
Manchester School of Management, shows only 12 per cent of staff bullied at
work turn to their HR departments for help, while 24 per cent would talk to
their union.

But the researchers say both figures are too low.

They said, "The fact that only a minority choose to take their case to
either their union or to a personnel officer suggests that employers and trade
unions alike still have a considerable way to go to establish themselves as
reliable sources of support."

The research, the UK’s largest ever study of workplace bullying, is
published in Employee Health Bulletin.

It found one in 10 staff say they have been bullied in the past six months.

Cooper and Hoel added, "Our results confirm that workplace bullying
must be given high priority across all sectors and occupations."

The study covered a range of sectors from the emergency services, retailing
and banking.

It found the highest number of employees experiencing bullying are in the
prison service (15.9 per cent), telecommunications (15.8 per cent) and teaching
(15.5 per cent).

A report published in February by Cooper and Hoel and backed by the CBI and
the TUC found one in five people say they have been bullied over the past five
years.

The findings were in line with Personnel Today’s own research which also
revealed at least of four of out 10 organisations do not have an anti-bullying
policy.

Of HR professionals surveyed, seven out of 10 said they experienced bullying.

• More than 90 million working days are lost each year through workplace
stress, according to latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive.

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