Management training for MPs to eradicate stress and bullying called for by Unite

Posted On: 
24th January 2017

Management training for MPs would help eradicate an epidemic of stress and cases of bullying experienced by parliamentary staff, Unite, the country’s largest union, has said.

A recent survey by Unite, which has about 500 members in its parliamentary staff branch, revealed that almost 60 per cent of those replying felt stress and about 20 per cent had suffered bullying at work.

A key problem that the union has identified is that many MPs don’t have experience of managing their own employees before they are elected to the House of Commons.

Secretary of Unite’s parliamentary staff branch Roisin McDermott said: “We recently conducted a survey of MPs’ staff which disclosed that almost 60 per cent of them felt stress in the workplace – with about the same number telling us that they work more than their contracted hours ‘weekly or all the time’.

“Even more worrying, about 20 per cent revealed that they had experienced bullying at work, which is completely unacceptable at the heart of the nation’s democratic life.”

When asked how they responded to problems in the workplace, only three per cent of respondents said they used the staff helpline.

Roisin McDermott added: “What we are dealing with is really just the tip of the iceberg which makes the strong case for a professional programme of management training.

“Ideally, such a programme would include all 650 MPs, however busy they may be with their respective duties.

“While getting to grips with parliament, most MPs do not have previous experience of having their own employees.

“This should be taken into account and proper training needs to be put in place to show MPs how to be a good employer, manage a team and provide their staff with the right support in an often highly-pressurised working environment.”