15 July 2011
One in ten factories witness workforce bullying
One in ten manufacturing sites has witnessed workforce bullying over the past year, WM's People & Productivity report has revealed.
Almost 15% of staff managers said they had encountered intimidation in the first major insight into the scale of the problem at UK sites.
Yet sporadic bullying failed to dampen a buoyant mood on the shopfloor. Just 14% of site managers said low morale was denting productivity, the report showed.
Workforces had enjoyed significant investment in skills development according to the survey of 153 senior factory staff. Seven in ten manufacturers had up-skilled employees with appraisals, reward schemes and training support all widespread.
Staff were also twice as likely to net a pay rises compared to a year ago.
Job security had improved with redundancies reported at 20% of sites compared to 40% in 2010.
But bullying remained a blight on an otherwise impressive picture of staff productivity.
The issue remained a grey area at many factories according to frontline managers.
Mark Goodliffe of Conversion Solutions said: "It all depends what you term as bullying. If you get a manager who is not your line manager on your case about what's going on- that happens without a doubt."
Employers should not sweep reports of bullying under the carpet warned Britain's biggest union.
Unite's assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: "I have met employers who felt that what was clearly unfair treatment was "harmless" - sometimes dismissed as 'a bit of banter'. I have also met managers and supervisors who have ignored blatant bullying because they don't know how to deal with it."
See the full People & Productivity report in our July issue.
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