Taking on the bullies in Greenwich

11 Occupational Therapists, all employed at Greenwich Council are currently being balloted for strike action in protest at a prolonged campaign of bullying instigated by managers at Greenwich Council. This small group of workers have made the courageous decision that they will not allow themselves to be backed into a dark corner where they take a metaphorical beating in the dark and out of sight. Instead, they have agreed to expose an appalling culture of bullying and victimisation. Two particular cases illustrate this most graphically. In the first case, a worker complained that the atmosphere was impacting on her health. The employer then used this as an excuse to move her from her team mates and her support, to another section of the Council. This was against her will and in fact made her condition worse. She was being punished for complaining. The second case involves a worker who made a greivance complaint and supplied several statements from other staff as evidence of bullying and victimisation. The day after, she was suspended. While on suspension her job has been advertised and filled. The allegations include being freinds with team mates! This campaign should allow workers to draw a very important lesson – greivance complaints have their place in the armoury of a trade union. But ultimately, it is by collectivising an issue and taking action together as workers that will allow for real change in workplaces, especially on issues such as bullying, where too often workers, even with the full support of good local reps can feel that they are fighting alone. The ballot for strike action begins on 28th April and closes on 7th May. This campaign could now spread across the Council as others see the example set by these brave 11 workers. This campaign follows revelations made by the BBC Sunday Politics programme of a bullying culture at Councillor level at Greenwich. Clearly, managers saw this culture as a green light to attack staff. Our camapign – a collective campaign using the power of workers standing together will show the bullies and Greenwich Council a different light – it will be a red light proclaiming “STOP” to bullying and victimisation.

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