‘This is a toxic workplace’ - NIPSA reports on survey of staff at MEA Borough Council
Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA), a union representing almost 300 workers in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, has a released the shocking results of its survey into Bullying and Harassment in Council.
The survey results which reveal that 61% of respondents said they have been bullied, confirm recent allegations of a toxic culture at the heart of the local authority where staff feel intimidated and fearful to speak out.
NIPSA Official, Alan Law stated:
“NIPSA has concluded its survey into Bullying and Harassment in Mid and East Antrim BC. The results should rock the Council to its core, they demonstrate that the organisation needs urgent reform to bring about a culture change where staff feel able to raise concerns and where they will have confidence that these will be listened to and dealt with accordingly.
“It is horrendous that 61% of respondents have been bullied with 79% of NIPSA members feeling that reporting concerns would impact career prospects. This is a toxic workplace.
“NIPSA calls on Council to set aside all confidentiality agreements staff who have left the Council have been required to sign. It is only through transparency can this organisation do better. The political leadership must act immediately and ensure change occurs and is sustained.
I am today releasing the initial results of our survey and am demanding that Council take action to address the findings.”
NIPSA SURVEY OUTCOME (from 99 respondents)
Q1 Have you experienced bullying and / or Harassment at work?
61% Yes 39% No
Q2 Did you feel supported by Council?
11% Yes 57% No 32% other (this option was used by people with an experience of bullying to provide more information)
Q3 Does your employer take Bullying and Harassment complaints seriously?
13% Yes 54% No 33% other (this option was used by people with an experience of bullying to give more information)
Q4 Is there a culture of bullying and harassment in Council?
48% Yes 15% No 35% other (this option was used by people with an experience of bullying to provide more information)
Q5 Do you have confidence that Council would take your concerns about workplace bulling and harassment seriously?
59% Very unlikely / Unlikely 20% Neither 19% Likely / Very Likely 2% None of the above
Q6 Reporting Concerns: Do you think it would impact your career / promotion prospects?
79% Very Likely / Likely 16% Neither 5% Unlikely / Very Unlikely
Q7 Whistleblowing: Do you feel confident that your concerns would be investigated and action taken if upheld?
17% Yes 83% No
Q8 What would you like NIPSA to do about workplace bullying and harassment?
• Staff to afraid to speak out • NIPSA needs to act. • Culture in Council toxic • Demand independent investigations • Someone should look at absenteeism / staff turnover • Hold Council accountable
Q9 Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied as an employee of Mid and East Antrim BC?
35% Satisfied / Very Satisfied 19% Neither 49% Dissatisfied / Very Dissatisfied
Responding to the NIPSA survey report, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said:
“Council is taking the concerns raised by NIPSA extremely seriously.
“This Council takes a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment in the workplace, and a wide range of procedures are already in place for such concerns to be voiced, investigated and for those who raise them to be fully supported by the organisation.
“On receipt of the survey results, a meeting has been arranged this afternoon by senior management, and Council is continuing to seek an urgent meeting with union representatives to discuss these matters.
“One incident of alleged bullying and harassment is one too many at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
“Appropriate processes are in place to ensure staff who raise such matters are fully supported.”