13 Aug 2011

Union surveys staff over 'bullying culture'

3:47 pm on 13 August 2011

Staff at the Department of Building and Housing are being surveyed by their union about what it calls a culture of bullying and intimidation in the workplace.

The Public Services Association (PSA) says it has long-standing concerns about the department and has received complaints from its former employees.

National secretary Brenda Pilott says the survey was prompted by, but is not directly related to, an investigation under way into allegations that department chief executive Katrina Bach mistreated a co-worker.

She says the union will survey the 120 union members over the phone at home to to build a complete picture of the culture in the workplace.

Ms Pilott says bullying is almost endemic in New Zealand workplaces, including in the public sector, but there have been complaints from union members that the environment in this particular department is beyond the point that is acceptable.

The results of the survey will be made available to the department and the State Services Commission.