06 Jul 2022

Forty-five per cent of Derry workers bullied at work

Derry Trades Union Council survey releases survey results that also show 73 per cent of people who are employed in the city are struggling to pay household bills

Forty-five per cent of Derry workers bullied at work

The Derry Trades Union Council carried out a survey amongst workers in the city.

Forty-five per cent of Derry workers have said they have been bullied at work according to a new survey.

The Derry Trades Union Council (DTUC) carried out a survey amongst their members in the city.

A number of questions were asked of respondents – one of which enquired about bullying in the workplace to which 45 per cent replied that they had been a victim of it.

Other figures made for disturbing reading as well with 67 per cent saying that when off work for illness, they get no sick pay from their employer and have to rely on the government's statutory sick pay – a rate significantly lower than their monthly wage.

A further 73 per cent said they were struggling to pay their household bills while 65 per cent said their workforce was not friendly towards trade unions.

DTUC Chairperson, Niall McCarroll said: “Derry Trades Union Council through this local workers survey, have provided an opportunity, a platform and a voice for workers to have their say, local workers have now spoken.

“The political classes and the bosses must now act to address the exploitation and undervaluing of our young people and the wider local labour force.

“The local chambers of commerce must now also take on the responsibility, with others, of reversing years of wage inequalities and hardships, which have been created through profit driven local employment practices.

“A local culture within our employment market which has derisory and insulting take home pay as fundamental to its existence, leaving local workers barely able to survive.

“When it comes to telling us, what’s best for local people and what we need to improve and advance like other city’s, local business leaders, the council and other departments of a refined nature, regularly bestow upon us their collective unity of purpose, an unquestionable expertise.

“In the knowledge that 45 per cent of local workers have experienced bullying and/or harassment in the workplace and 73 per cent struggle to pay their bills, their message grows weak and lacks credibility, as they continue to profit and feed off grandiose statements.

“Sixty nine per cent of local workers surveyed were women; with 32 per cent of those surveyed earning below £4.62 per hour for their labour and 25 per cent gained employment under zero hours contracts, conditions stacked in favour of the rich and the business classes.

“The laughter of our children is being muffled by local capitalists, we should not accept any young person being paid £4.62 an hour. Local businesses should be asked and make it known, how much they pay their workers and in turn we decide where we spend our money.

“Pay rates should be listed on such things as restaurant menus, front doors of public houses and every retail outlet in shopping centres.

“Forty eight per cent of local workers who completed the survey were employed in retail or the hospitality and tourism sectors with 25 per cent being left with no option but to use a food bank.

“It would be disappointing and unjustified to think that local workers received such pittance during such times as the Fleadh Cheoil, City of Culture, Clipper Festival and other boom times for business and commerce groups.

“Poverty pay and precarious working conditions suit our business leaders and creates the ideal environment to promote investment, come to Derry and you will have cheap labour at your disposal and a workforce which is largely non unionised and therefore not organised to challenge wage inequalities, voiceless.

“Sixty five per cent of local workers surveyed said their workplace was not trade union friendly, this needs called out and challenged politically.

“As a guiding principle, moving forward, every worker across the city and district should have unhindered access to the trade union of their choice and encouraged to organise and become active in that trade union.

“We read regularly that our health and social care system is overstretched, the A&E at Altnagelvin Hospital being unable to cope with demand, we have a mental health crisis, young people with a sense of hopelessness no future no vision, with local communities having some of the highest statistics in terms of social deprivation and poverty.

“The link between substandard contracts of employment, poverty pay and socio economic hardships is well researched, poor terms and conditions of employment is putting pressure on our health service and working class communities.

“Sixty seven per cent of local workers surveyed had no company sick pay and 75 per cent were unable to self isolate due to Covid-19 because they could not afford financially to do so.

“The findings of this survey are stark and must be addressed as a matter of urgency, these findings must now be incorporated into any future party political election manifestos and a central focus of any corporate plan from Derry City and Strabane District Council.

“Our livelihoods and prosperity are of course important but we must also reconcile this with our identity, who we are and what we cherish the most.”

The Derry News contacted the Derry Chamber of Commerce to comment in response to the DTUC's survey results but they declined to do so.

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