Workplace bullying up union says

5:35 pm on 21 June 2011

A union representing more than 1000 Christchurch workers says workplace bullying has increased ten-fold since the February earthquake.

Unite Union's Christchurch representative Matthew Jones says the union has been flooded with calls from employees who work in industries including retail, fast-food, security and call centres.

He says reports of bullying have increased from one or two cases a week to at least twelve and employers are not doing enough to train managers to handle the problem.

However, Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend says most Cantabrians are struggling to cope with an extra-ordinary situation and that is manifesting in the workplace with people being angry, frightened, and panicky.

He says some of that behaviour may lead to bullying, but he says it is predominantly an issue of post-traumatic stress.

Mr Townsend says, in general, local employers have been extraordinarily understanding and accommodating to their employees.