14 October 2009

Northern Ireland - Call for new anti-bullying laws

worried woman
Unison wants more effective anti-bully legislation

Bullies are making life a misery for a third of workers in Northern Ireland, a survey by the union Unison suggests.

A union spokesman said the survey figures had prompted them to launch a campaign to tackle the "lack of legislation" to deal with the problem.

He said 34% of workers were currently suffering in silence and 73% of these had been bullied before.

The union wants the government to revise current legislation to include an anti-bullying policy.


Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said figures showed "that bullying and harassment of workers is spiralling out of control".

"Many people do not realise that a drip feed of bullying behaviour can be as devastating as a major incident," he said.

"Serious mental and physical illness is a common result for those being bullied and this can have a damaging effect on these workers for the rest of their lives."

Mr Prentis said the research showed that bullying was accepted in many organisations, "an attitude which needs to be changed now".

"The recession has surely added to this problem and the cost to employers, to cover absence and replace trained staff, makes it clear that tackling bullying makes economic sense," he said.


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