Beds, Herts & Bucks

Central Bedfordshire Council pay cut bullying claims rejected

A union has carried out a survey of staff attitudes at a unitary council in Bedfordshire that has revealed claims of bullying and intimidation.

Staff at Central Bedfordshire Council responded to the the GMB union study.

The workforce has been asked to take a 2% pay cut and the study concludes that nearly 80% of staff feel pressurised by councillors and officers to accept.

The council denies there is bullying or intimidation but has asked the union to provide case details to investigate.

The report, based on 416 replies from the workforce and representing 35% of union members, claims 79% of staff feel harassed or bullied or have experienced discrimination.

Of these 41% felt bullied over accepting the council's new terms and conditions of employment.

Another 11% felt bullied because of age, 10% over gender, 7% on racial grounds and 4% over disability.

Richard O'Leary from the GMB union said: "A high number of people have told us they feel bullied, harassed or intimidated in the workplace predominantly as a result of the current proposals."

The council employs 2,110 people excluding those who work at schools.

Richard Carr, chief executive at Central Bedfordshire Council, did not believe there was bullying but said there were systems in place for staff to raise any concerns they might have.

"We've asked the GMB to provide us with detailed information about particular cases.

"If there are any cases we will absolutely make sure they are dealt with but to date they have not come forward with any information that substantiates their conclusions."

The results of the survey are to be discussed between the union and the council next week.

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