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Union fears over bullying culture prompts survey at Aberystwyth University

1 December 2008

UCU at Aberystwyth University today announced it is running an institution-wide survey of all academic and professional/managerial staff. The union says it is concerned about the rising number of complaints of bullying and is determined to tackle the root of the problem.

The survey was launched today at the Aberystwyth anti-bullying seminar, where delegates heard from John Bamford, UCU's specialist on bullying and health and safety. The local survey – a first for the university – follows recent negotiations between UCU and the university to bring into force a 'Dignity & Respect at Work Policy.' However, despite the introduction of the policy the local association says it is dealing with an ever increasing number of bullying cases.
Mark Oley, UCU regional support official said: 'The growth, and severity, of the personal cases that the union has been involved with is a growing concern. We do not feel the University is dealing with the problem either quickly or robustly enough. It's fine having a policy in place, but unless there is training for all managers and staff then the policy is worthless. We will not allow this issue to be swept under the carpet and today's survey launch is the first step to stopping what we see as a very serious and growing problem.'
UCU recently conducted a UK-wide stress survey of its members, which revealed a culture of bullying and personal harassment in higher education that is creating discord between work colleagues. The UCU survey of 9,700 members working in higher education revealed that 6.7% of members said they were 'always' or 'often' bullied at work and 16.7% said 'sometimes'. Only half (51%) said they were fortunate enough to 'never' be bullied at work.
The survey further revealed that over a third of those surveyed (35.3%) 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' with the statement that 'relationships at work are strained' and only 2.8% said that there was never friction or anger between colleagues:

Local UCU enquiries – Mark Oley

Last updated: 11 December 2015