No. 173/2013 Ref: PTC/RE/srh/410 Date: 15 March 2013
TO ALL BRANCHES WITH POSTAL MEMBERS
RE: Royal Mail Group Revised Bullying and Harassment Procedure Agreement
Talks have been taking place over the last few months on revisions to the existing Bullying and Harassment Procedure Agreement.
The attached document represents a review and update rather than a fundamental rewrite. On that basis it has been agreed by the Postal Executive Committee. Discussions are taking place with RMG about briefing, publicity and implementation arrangements.
The revised document addresses a number of concerns experienced by members in relation to the operation of the procedure.
The revised procedure places much stronger emphasis on informal resolution where possible, both before commencing the formal procedure and at various stages within the procedure.
The procedure has been amended to take account of the changes to the Conduct Code Procedure in respect of Union Representatives to ensure that informal discussion happens at the appropriate stage with the Divisional Representative or other senior Field Official, to avoid problems which have been encountered where this step in the procedure has in effect been circumvented in complaints made through the bullying and harassment route.
Provision of Information
This has emerged as a particular problem in the last two or three years. It had become routine to withhold witness statements from the complainant and/or the respondent making it impossible to effectively question or challenge statements, or to be sure that all the relevant witnesses have been interviewed. This is addressed at a number of points in the revised document but in particular paragraph 11 (iii) “the complainant and respondent will be provided with copies of all the relevant information relating to the case. Documents will be reviewed to ensure that personal details e.g. telephone numbers, home addresses are removed. Anonymisation should only be considered where the investigating manager believes there is a real fear of intimidation or reprisal where a specific, legitimate request for anonymity has been made by a witness”.
Employees Right to be Treated with Dignity and Respect
The Outdoor Department has been addressing the problem of bullying and intimidation by managers in some Delivery Offices, relating to workload or performance issues and this is dealt with separately as reported in LTB 170/13. The general issue of the employees right to be treated with dignity and respect is covered in paragraph 4, employee rights (ii) on page 4 of the revised agreement:
“Employees have the right to be addressed reasonably, particularly when asked to carry out work in the course of their duties taking account of their role, skills, abilities and the prevailing work demands at the time. Employees have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and may seek redress if this is not the case. Where a complaint relates to a person’s behaviour, the Bullying and Harassment Procedure should be used. Where a complaint relates to the application of a work policy or direction, the Grievance Procedure should be used”.
This is also addressed in a revised paragraph 4 of the Joint Statement between RMG, CWU and Unite.
The Central and Technical Services Department is in discussion with Royal Mail on the content of leaflets, posters and other publicity material around the agreement and the intention is to use this to reinforce the message around management behaviours.
Any enquiries should be addressed to Ray Ellis’s department, quoting reference PTC/RE/srh/410. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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