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Lecturers at North East Wales Institute to hold strike ballot after management bullying failures

26 June 2008

Lecturers at North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI) yesterday agreed to ballot on possible strike action after the institute's failure to tackle the bullying of staff.

Members of the UCU branch in NEWI voted unanimously to ballot branch members on strike action and action short of a strike in connection with the institute's failure to agree a resolution to a collective grievance over complaints about bullying.

The branch also unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in the professionalism of the institute's Human Resource managers.

Eight complaints have been made in the past few months about bullying within a particular school at the institute, but the institute's authorities have failed to take action.

UCU lodged a collective grievance in January that was rejected by NEWI managers. UCU presented the findings of a health and safety survey in March that showed urgent action was needed in one School, where 5 out of 13 academics had been bullied.

Over the past five months, the union has repeatedly asked for an independent investigation into the allegations and has written to the head of human resources, the chair of the Academic Common Interest Group, the principal and the chair of the board of governors.

UCU's head of employment rights, Roger Kline, is writing to the institute to remind employers of their duty of care to staff including a duty to prevent bullying and harassment.

If UCU members vote for industrial action, it is likely to take place in September.

Wales UCU regional official Margaret Phelan said: 'Bullying is a major concern amongst staff in colleges and universities, and a cause of stress and illness. It is all too common and UCU is taking bullying very seriously, wherever it happens.'

Last updated: 14 December 2015