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Shocking levels of workplace bullying are revealed by a TUC ...
Shocking levels of workplace bullying are revealed by a TUC

survey today which suggests five million people have been bullied at work. And one in four employees say they know their colleagues have been the victims of workplace bullies.

The new figures are launched on the first day of the TUC's No Excuse:

Beat Bullying at Work Campaign which aims to raise awareness of the

levels of workplace bullying, offer help to those affected by it, and

look at practical ways unions and employers can tackle the problem


The NOP survey asked respondents whether they had been bullied and if

they were aware of bullying in a current or former place of work. The

survey showed that one in ten (11%) of respondents were either

currently bullied or had been bullied at work and over a quarter (27%)

were aware that colleagues had been bullied either in a current or

previous job. The survey also revealed that people in managerial and

professional roles were more likely to have been bullied. 15% said

they had been bullied compared to 10% of skilled white collar workers,

11% of skilled blue collar workers, and 9% of unskilled workers.

According to the survey, men and women are equally likely to be the

victims of bullying (11% of men and 11% of women).

TUC general secretary John Monks said: 'These shocking figures

highlight the need for protection against bullying at work. Trade

unions can provide that protection and this campaign aims to focus on

ways they can work with employers to make workplace bullying


'The Fairness at Work White Paper giving employees the right to be

accompanied by a TU official when raising a grievance will help give

victims the confidence to speak out rather than suffer in silence.'

Today also sees the launch of:

- the TUC's 24 hour information line, 0870 60 70 310, which will run

for the campaign week. Callers can order information leaflets giving

details on how to tackle workplace bullying and where to get help

- a series of advice roadshows taking place around the country during

the week

- a guide for trade union reps and personnel managers highlighting

union and employer case studies and offering practical ways to beat

bullying at work

The TUC is holding a national conference on bullying today at Congress House with speakers including public health minister Tessa Jowell; John Cridland, director of human resources policy at the CBI; and TUC general secretary John Monks.


Poll results

Percentage of respondents who said they were currently bullied or had

been bullied at work (extrapolated to represent the working


region proportion of working population region proportion

of working population

Scotland 360,000 (9%) North East 240,000 (12%)

North West 594,000 (11%) Yorkshire & Humberside 320,000 (8%)

Midlands 1,036,000 (14%) Wales 414,000 (18%)

East Anglia 137,000 (8%) Greater London 495,000 (9%)

South East 778,000 (9%) South West 390,000 (10%)

Percentage of respondents who said they were aware of workplace

bullying in a current or former job (extrapolated to represent the

working population)

region proportion of working population region proportion

of working population

Scotland 720,000 (18%) North East 340,000 (17%)

North West 1,566,000 (29%) Yorkshire & Humberside 1,240,000 (31%)

Midlands 1,924,000 (26%) Wales 621,000 (27%)

East Anglia 447,000 (27%) Greater London 1,485,000 (27%)

South East 2,333,000 (27%) South West 780,000 (20%)

The poll was conducted for the TUC by NOP. The fieldwork dates were

25-27 September 1998. 1,002 adults aged 15 and over were surveyed

using a quota sample. The sample was designed to be representative of

all adults in telephone owning households in Great Britain. Figures

include people in work as well as those not currently working.

Respondents were asked: `Are you currently or have you ever been

bullied at work?' and `As far as you know, has anyone been bullied

where you work now or where you have worked in the past?'.Case


The following case studies come from the TUC's bad bosses hotline

which ran for five days in December 1997. Almost 2,000 callers

complained about workplace bullying.

'My ex-boss used to manage his staff by humiliation. He would make

people who did not reach the impossible targets he set, stand in the

corner wearing a dunce's hat. The worst thing was he was convinced

his behaviour made him a good boss - that it would increase

productivity. But the staff were terrified - some of them literally

jumped every time he walked in the room.

Raymond, group editor for a newspaper company.

'As an ex-police officer I have been through some pretty rough times,

but nothing compares to the treatment dished out to me by this one

man. He would time me when I went to the toilet and, when we met up

on field sales days, he would take each of us outside and tear strips

off us. One day, when I hadn't made the number of sales that I was

supposed to, he actually threatened to assault me. But he was very

clever, he rarely threatened us in front of other staff and if you

tried to approach the subject with supervisors they would deny

bullying was even a possibility.'

Paul, trainee sales rep for a publications company

'The boss knew she was a bully because when she felt she had pushed

things too far she would turn on the charm, offering us time off for

our hard work. But I didn't want time off, I just wanted to be

treated with some respect.'

Marie, a former account manager for a telecommunications firm

Employers who fail to tackle bullying can pay a high price.

In 1994 in a landmark ruling, the high court awarded£175,000 to

UNISON member John Walker, a Northumberland social worker, for his

stress-related breakdown.

UNISON won£66,000 in July 1996 for a member who was unable to work

for four years because of anxiety and depression caused by the

attitude of a senior officer.

In July this year, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers gained

£100,000 compensation in an out-of-court settlement for a teacher who

claimed workplace bullying was the cause of two mental breakdowns.

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