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Exclusive: Workers report ‘shameful’ culture of bullying and harassment at Bon Accord Care

Bon Accord Care in Aberdeen. Picture: Darrell Bens.
Bon Accord Care in Aberdeen. Picture: Darrell Bens.

Workers have reported a “shameful” culture of bullying and harassment at one of Aberdeen’s largest care providers.

Bon Accord Care, which delivers a range of care services on behalf of Aberdeen City Council, is facing accusations of mistreatment by a number of staff.

They allege they have been poorly treated by some members of senior management.

Around 93% of workers surveyed by GMB Union reported bullying in the workplace, while just over half reported they had been directly bullied by their line manager.

Of the total workers surveyed, 67% of members of staff said that although the issue was raised with their employer, it took no steps to improve the situation.

More than 70% said workplace bullying had led to issues with anxiety.

Bon Accord Care, which has been operating since 2013, supplies a number of services, including care for those at home, community meals and help for those within residential care homes.

One worker said “bullying, belittlement and dismissive behaviour” was “the norm” across the senior management team at Bon Accord Care.

Another worker said: “I’m well aware there is a culture of bullying and harassment at Bon Accord Care and it seems the top tier management do nothing to prevent this happening.

“This is having a massive impact on my mental health and wellbeing.

“This is a caring profession, but no one ever seems to care much about the staff.”

Stephen Massey, GMB Scotland organiser said the figures were “proof of the shameful treatment of key workers already working under the huge pressure of a public health crisis”.

He added: “The culture of bullying and harassment in Bon Accord Care is having a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our members.”

David Martyn, head of employment law at Thompsons Solicitors, said the situation “suggests a serious institutional problem” in the way in which staff are treated in the workplace.

He added: “Bon Accord Care need to now make a concerted effort to engage with this trade union, listen to their staff and work with representatives to improve the working conditions of staff.”

Bon Accord Care’s interim managing director, Gail Woodcock said all allegations of bullying are “taken very seriously and will always be investigated” at the company.

She added: “To protect staff and offer guidance on raising issues, we are governed by, and actively promote, robust policies covering bullying, harassment and whistleblowing.

“It is disappointing the survey came to the attention of Bon Accord Care through the media rather it being shared directly with us by the GMB and we are awaiting full details.

“We are not aware of any widespread culture of bullying but will work closely with trade union colleagues to gain an understanding of the situation and address any issues that are raised.”

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