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Public sector workplace bullying on the rise as economy falters

Bullying in the public sector is on the increase, according to research conducted by public sector union Unison, but there is also a growing reluctance to report it. Why are so many employees suffering in silence?

The 2011 study of 6,000 staff revealed that six out of 10 public sector workers in the UK had either been bullied themselves or had witnessed bullying in their workplace. The findings also suggested a strong link between the increased incidence of bullying and the economic downturn, with one in four workers believing that staff cutbacks had been a direct cause of workplace bullying.

Job insecurity and the sluggish employment market are likely reasons why victims of bullying are increasingly reluctant to speak out or leave their jobs. The majority of those polled - 53% - said they would be too scared to raise concerns over bullying in the current climate of job and spending cuts, compared with just 25% two years ago.

Workplace bullying is never acceptable and tackling it head-on is essential to avoid serious problems such as reduced productivity, increased absence rates, stress and health problems, all of which can cost employers dear in the long term. Acas provides training in dealing with bullying and harassment in the workplace and can help you develop effective solutions for your organisation.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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