Mid and East Antrim Borough Council rejects union’s ‘bullying culture’ claim

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has said claims of “bullying and harassment” over a return to work by employees are “unfounded”.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 12:21 pm

The local authority has issued a tersely worded statement in response to a survey carried out by trade union NIPSA following complaints from members employed by the local authority said by the union to be “raising concerns about a culture of bullying and harassment within council”.

The council has insisted it has a “zero tolerance for bullying and harassment”.

The statement says: “Council is extremely disappointed NIPSA has failed to engage with management around these unfounded claims prior to issuing an online survey on surveymonkey with leading questions and a statement to the media.

The Braid, Ballymena

“Council management continue to work closely with staff regarding the safe return to work, with staff health, safety and wellbeing our priority at all times. The return to work of our staff is vital to ensure the restoration of all our services to deliver maximum benefit for citizens.

“A wide range of policies, reporting avenues and measures are in place for any staff to raise any concerns they may have.”

NIPSA, the largest public sector union in Northern Ireland, which represents almost 300 members in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, confirmed that it has launched a survey into “bullying and harassment in council”.

Alan Law, assistant secretary, stated: “NIPSA has received a number of complaints from members employed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council raising concerns about a culture of bullying and harassment within council. As a result of these complaints, we have launched a survey to ascertain our members’ experiences at work.

“Bullying and harassment can only thrive in environments where others turn a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour and conduct. Anyone doing this is as guilty as the bully.

“NIPSA will ensure our members can work in an environment where bullying and harassment is not tolerated and will strive to protect members’ interests.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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