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Leeds Met staff stressed and losing sleep over management bullying

14 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Over two thirds (68%) of staff surveyed at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) have suffered stress because of bullying from their managers.

A similar number (67%) said they had become angry as a result of how they were treated and over three fifths had lost sleep (62%) or become anxious (61%).

The survey of UCU members at LMU paints a worrying picture of a bullying culture at the university. The survey was sparked by fears from the local union branch that staff members' health was suffering because of a bullying culture. The union was forced to survey its members after the university's human resources (HR) department refused to.

The union says that an early indication of the bullying culture was a unilateral ban on staff leave during graduation week and the two week staff development 'festival', followed by a thinly veiled threat to sack those who did not participate. The festival coincides with the end of the summer holidays, a time when schools are still on holiday, and many parents wish to be with their families.

The survey confirmed the union's concerns that, despite protestations from HR, leave during the two periods was not being granted. Ninety per cent of those surveyed said they had been refused leave during these periods.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The behaviour of the management at Leeds Metropolitan University is clearly having a demoralising effect on the staff. A decent work:life balance is crucial to staff being able to do their jobs properly. Even more worrying are the revelations in the survey about the impact the management's approach is having on staff's health.'

UCU regional official, Adrian Jones, said: 'The vice-chancellor claims the university aims to enhance well-being by promoting an ethical, healthy environment, ethos and community. The reality, revealed by the preliminary results of this survey, is very different. Besides the high levels of stress and anxiety, the survey reveals a climate of fear with 96% of those surveyed reporting that they felt inhibited about criticising polices of Leeds Met.'

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