Bullying in the workplace

After the press announcements regarding the bullying and intimidation within the Police College and at the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency that UNISON Fife broke to the ‘Courier’, a series of meetings were set up that UNISON Fife was invited to attend.


These meetings were to discuss the claims by UNISON Fife regarding bullying and intimidation within the Scottish Police College primarily and the refusal by the Scottish Police Service to engage with Alex Duncan, Branch Officer to take these issues foreword. Although the claims were initially denied by the college, these claims have since been verified by the SPSA through a staff survey which 30% of staff acknowledged that they were subject to or new of bullying going on within the college. The Scottish Police Service after discussing the results of the staff survey with UNISON Fife launched an immediate action plan to take the issues foreword as a matter of priority. Interconnected to the issue of bullying are some cases that have this unacceptable behaviour as the main theme of member’s grievance. Both the Scottish Police Service and UNISON Fife agree that there is no place for bullying and intimidation within the workplace, a point echoed by Kenny Mcaskill, Justice Minister in his comments when hearing of UNISON Fife claims and the results of the staff survey.


Given the serious issues raised by UNISON Fife in breaking a national story such as this to protect the wellbeing of members, it has been agreed that these issues cannot be resolved in the short term and that a longer term strategy will be required which will run beyond the introduction of the ‘One Single Force’ in April 2013, to this end UNISON Fife has agreed for a UNISON Scotland representative to take the lead on these issues.


 UNISON Fife members within the SPSA are delighted that the bullying culture needed to be highlighted and tackled at source, members have supported UNISON Fife’s approach and they feel that they know have a strong voice within the college.


Branch Secretary Debbie Thomson states. For 14 months UNISON Fife were aware of the claims of bullying and were collecting the necessary evidence through Branch Officer Alex Duncan to substantiate the claims, once we had exhausted all avenues of communication with the SPSA in trying to secure a meeting then we were only left with one option and that was to break the story through the press.


There is no place in the workplace for bullying, as Branch Secretary I am satisfied that since we have broken this national story our members grievances are starting to be taken seriously with the Scottish Police Service.


UNISON Fife will continue to stand up for our member’s rights in whatever workplace we have members irrespective of the pressures placed upon us.


UNISON is delighted to be partnering with the Take One Action! Film Festival again this year. The Festival runs from Friday 21st September until Saturday 6th October 2012 in Glasgow and Edinburgh (a selection of films will tour all over Scotland in the winter, more details of that nearer the time). The full programme can be found here:  http://www.takeoneaction.org.uk/events/festival/ , there is also on this page a summary of all the films on show.


UNISON is centrally involved in two films on show, firstly,  Sister , a powerful film that highlights how lack of transport, communication, education and investment in healthcare mean that Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti have an average maternal mortality rate of one in forty women. The Glasgow showing on Wednesday 26th September is in Yorkhill Hospital – a unique chance to see a film in a hospital and hear direct from the director.


The second film we are working on is We’re not Broke which well illustrates from a US perspective how much wealth there is in the world and the effort to which large corporations go to avoid paying taxes. BB3 comedian Jolyon Rubenstein current star of The Revolution will be Televised will take part in the after film panel discussion along with UNISON’s own Dave Watson.


Please draw these films and the whole festival to the attention of members and their families.


The films all help highlight progressive issues, struggles and alternatives to austerity orthodoxy. The audience at the end of each film is asked to at least Take One Action! Arising out of the film. For UNISON they are a vital aid in our ongoing work to build confidence that there is an alternative and to engage people around joining with us on the 20th of October demonstration in Glasgow.