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TUC congress fights back on workplace bullying

9 September 2013

NUJ president Barry McCall tells Congress that strong trade union organisation in the workplace is the only truly effective way to stop the shocking levels of bullying in work places and to promote a culture of collectivism; a culture where in the words of Larkin “an injury to one is the concern of all”.

Barry McCall said:

"Having been a journalist and trade union activist for more than 30 years I thought I was beyond shock. Then I read the report on bullying in the BBC compiled by NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet.

"Michelle spoke to dozens of current and former BBC employees in confidence and took depositions from them about their experiences at the hands of the world’s finest public service broadcaster. To describe the report as harrowing would be to put it mildly. In more than one case a member’s life was put at risk by the bullying actions of their superiors.

"This report came hard on the heels of the revelations of the Leveson Inquiry regarding the bullying culture prevalent in national newspaper newsrooms. That culture led directly to the unethical behaviour exposed by Leveson.

"But unethical journalism is just part of it. In recent days we have heard of deliberate strategies being employed by BBC HR bosses to target trade union activists and bully them out of their jobs. And if only career blight was the end of it; we have seen people who have had their mental health and their family lives destroyed by the cruelty of their bosses.

"This disgraceful behaviour must be stopped. And the only truly effective way to stop it is strong trade union organisation in the workplace.

"We need to see the culture of individualisation which allows bullying to exist replaced by a culture of collectivism; a culture where in the words of Larkin “an injury to one is the concern of all”.

"The NUJ with the support of our sister unions in the Federation of Entertainment Unions is campaigning to highlight the need to eradicate the stain of bullying from our industries and workplaces everywhere.

"We are now asking this conference to give its full backing to that campaign and to place the fight-back against bullying firmly at the front and centre of all of its campaigns."
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