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Issue #1444      24 February 2010

Respect at Work campaign needs to make up lost ground

The Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) has welcomed prosecution for bullying and said the establishment of WorkSafe’s “Respect at Work” campaign needs to hit the ground running.

“For many years in many WorkSafe forums unions have been raising concerns about the inadequacy of WorkSafe’s response to workplace bullying said VTHC secretary Brian Boyd. “We are pleased that this campaign is up and running but workers in Victoria deserve a stronger response from WorkSafe on this issue.”

He said that for some workers bullying is a life and death issue, for others bullying is an all too common occurrence.

“The prosecution of the bullies, and the employer who allowed it to happen, is welcome. We extend our heartfelt condolences to families affected. Sadly, there are many more workers who continue to suffer bullying in the workplace and their stories also need to be told.”

Mr Boyd also says that federal moves to uniform health and safety laws around Australia if allowed to happen will result in reduced Victorian OHS standard.

“Currently, this proposed national regime will not deliver a strong prevention of bullying law. The Victorian government knows Victorian workers need a stronger law, and need the present guidance regime strengthened.

“It needs to live up to its commitment that no worker will be worse off because of these uniform health and safety laws being proposed.”

Mr Boyd said the Victorian government needs to improve standards – not allow the so called national harmonisation process to water them down.

Unions first raised bullying as a health and safety issue in a national campaign back in 2000.

Victoria introduced a Prevention of Bullying Guidance Note in 2003. Model laws and regulations are expected to come into effect December 1, 2012. “Workplace Bullying however is not currently on this agenda and we must insist this situation be corrected,” said Mr Boyd.

Next article –  The time is up: time to go on the offensive

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