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Workplace bullying on the rise in Christchurch

Press Release -

Workplace bullying on the rise in Christchurch

Since February's devastating earthquake the Unite Union office in Christchurch has been flooded with calls from union members describing horrendous cases of workplace bullying.

"It has been extremely difficult to keep up with the number of cases of bullying we have to deal with. People are incredibly stressed during this difficult time and we're working closely with employers to get the issues resolved quickly. The disappointing thing is that some employers seem to have a 'couldn't care less' attitude,” says Unite Union Organiser Matt Jones.

Matt Jones says Unite Union's approach has always been to work closely with the affected members and company management to resolve the issue immediately and to limit the time it takes to reach a plan of moving forward.

“Bullying can be an incredibly stressful and harmful for the people involve and it's infuriating when we are stone-walled and left with the impression that management performance will not be improved. We are often left with no option but to drag the cases through an already over-stretched legal grievance process that may get some compensation but fails to address the root cause of the problems.

The cases Unite are aware of vary from retail to fast-food, security to call centres.

“During this crises period the failure of some of the biggest employers to train and support work-site management in dealing with the fallout at work has become alarmingly clear” said Mr Jones.

"Giving someone an extra dollar or two an hour and giving them a badge doesn't equip them to deal with the reality of running a work place"

In an already stressful time, Unite Union is calling on employers in the Canterbury region rethink their approach. “We want employers to recognize the pressure on both managers and staff, respond promptly when complaints are raised and put in place training and support to prevent any unnecessary suffering” concluded Mr Jones.


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