Occupational therapists (OTs) at Greenwich council, fed up with an alleged ‘bullying culture’, are gearing up to vote for strike action. The eleven therapists, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will start voting on whether to take strike action or industrial action short of a strike on 28 April. The ballot closes on 7 May.
Unite said that the OTs are protesting about alleged bullying, harassment and the suspension of a work colleague accused of being too friendly with staff. Unite said that her suspension follows a complaint she made about being bullied. It is also alleged that another worker was moved out of the team against her wishes after she, too, complained of the effects of bullying.
The post of the suspended worker was advertised and has now been filled – a clear indication that council bosses are apparently undertaking a sham investigation while she is suspended.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Greenwich council should be ashamed of itself for allowing what appears to be a bullying culture to thrive.
“Not only has it failed to deal with complaints of bullying, its managers are now allegedly victimising those who stand up against bullying. Our members have said ‘enough is enough’.
“But we know that the issue is more widespread – workers in adults’ services, where the OTs are based, are also saying that they have suffered bullying – we will not hesitate to take action to support these workers as well.”
A Royal Borough of Greenwich spokesperson said: “The Council completely refutes the suggestions contained in the Unite email. This isolated case involves differences between workplace colleagues in one team.
“The Manager of the team has been suspended and the Council is carrying out an investigation into the issues that have been raised. It would be inappropriate to comment any further pending the investigation.”