Blog 47: Cold shouldering the virus and dignity at work

Blog 47 here, all locked up and nowhere to go. Wearing pyjama’s all day at weekends is the new norm, which is causing quite a stir in my Cul de Sac as my Star Wars Onesie I bought when I was 13 doesn’t quite fit me anymore, and this “all in one” seems to show all my one, two, and three’s !!!!

I cannot write another thing about Covid and or PPE and I am sure you cannot read another sentence on this horrible virus so I am going to bully the virus and give it the cold shoulder. I refuse to talk to it; I’m sending it to Coventry or any post-industrial Midlands city of personal choice.

I am going to focus on another news item this week. Priti Patel, the smirking Tory Home secretary and the fact she has been allowed to “get away” with bullying. A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March over allegations that Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments.

It followed the resignation of the Home Office’s permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam, who accused Patel of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” against him….. and she’s gotten away with it. She may have broken the rules (as proven in the report), but as Boris Johnson was the ultimate judge and jury, she remains in her role.

This shows you that even with laws and policies on working people’s side, if we don’t have the power to ensure the laws are followed through then the rules are essentially worthless.

UNISON (around 4 years ago) gained a real achievement on this subject when they went to court to get employment tribunal fees scrapped. If a worker was bullied out of their job (but couldn’t afford to go to a Tribunal) the bullies could get away with it. UNISON proved the Tory government was acting unlawfully then and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees … nothing much has changed it seems.

UNISON believes that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect at work. Bullying is totally unacceptable behaviour as it denies staff this right. Bullying at work is a major workplace problem that makes the daily working lives of many workers intolerable. Workplace bullying can lead to ill-health and work-related stress, it affects morale and is the cause of untold misery to workers. This is bad for the workforce and bad for the organisation, because workers affected by bullying may take long periods of sick leave or leave the organisation altogether.

There is no simple definition of bullying because it can take many different forms. It occurs in a variety of situations and crosses gender, race, age and involve one or a number of individuals. However, UNISON has defined workplace bullying as persistent offensive, intimidating, humiliating behaviour, which attempts to undermine an individual or group of employees. Bullying is generally carried out face-to-face but can also occur in writing by telephone, text messaging, email and on social media.

Here at LTHT the relevant policy’s to read are the Dignity at Work policy which links into the Grievance Policy. Both are cracking reads and high literature, turning the reader into a page turning demon in a frenzy of excitement at each gripping page. The message is simple. Bullying is never acceptable and if you feel you are being mistreated then you need to raise that. If you witness bullying within your team, again raise it.

Most of the cases which come into our office are dealt with informally. A member explains their concerns and we contact the relevant manager or HR and all parties get together and find a resolution. Occasionally more formal routes are taken, but this thankfully is rare.

Bullying is really horrible, and unacceptable. You have our assurance that if you raise anything we will deal with the accusations professionally, discreetly and sensitivity.  We understand that raising issues like this can be tough.

Lastly a big hello to all the shielders and members on isolation. We may rightly focus on members who are working through this surge, but I want those staff at home to know you are not forgotten and we are here to help you too if you have an issue regarding  working from home. You still have the same rights, and if your 7 year old is bullying you regarding the (sub)standard of your home schooling technique we want to know !!! PS to all Mums and dad’s what the heck is a split dia-graph??

…..speak soon XXX