aworkcovervictimsdiary welcomes the recent findings and recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the bullying culture that exists in WorkCover NSW, which seriously damages its credibility. The report confirms what we have known and loathed for many years, that a serious culture of bullying exists in the NSW WorkCover authority.
We refer back to our previous post “Inquiry finds bullying withing WorkCover NSW“. The Inquiry was in response to a successful prosecution in defence of Wayne Butler who had been brutally bullied from his position in the organisation.
In the Industrial Relations Commission Deputy President Harrison was scathing and found that “the termination of Mr Butler’s employment [was] harsh, unreasonable and unjust”.
His Honour commented, words to the effect that “in 26 years on the bench I struggle to find an example where someone has been dealt with more unfairly or unjustly”.
His Honour further commented that Mr Butler had been used as “a scapegoat for systemic management failure and as a sacrifice to an application of policy and procedure in a draconian way which countenances no innocent explanation”.
Also, various surveys of WorkCover NSW staff over recent years have consistently shown high levels of bullying,
with 40-50% of workers reporting that they have witnessed instances of bullying but no effective action was ever taken by management. The bullying problem within WorkCover NSW has worsened significantly in recent years.
We believe when a bullying culture has become so widespread at the NSW workplace safety regulator, which
is really meant to ensure safety, health and well being of all workers, including injured workers, across the state, it’s definitely high time for a serious look at how this issue is dealt with!
WorkCover bullying inquiry shows regulator failing on all levels
The report released (on 19 June 2014) by the Parliamentary Committee inquiry into WorkCover bullying confirms what many workers and WorkCover employees have known for some time – it is an organisation in chaos with an entrenched culture of bullying that is failing in its task of protecting NSW workers.
Greens MP and Industrial Relations Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“When the Greens called for this inquiry it was in response to many concerning reports of bullying within WorkCover NSW.
“With this unanimous report it is now a matter of public record that bullying within WorkCover NSW is rife and senior management have consistently failed to address this.
“WorkCover NSW, which is meant to be regulating work safety across the state, has shown itself unable to even address bullying in its own ranks.
“The responsibility for these failures rests squarely with senior management who have fundamentally failed to accept the proven instances of bullying by WorkCover NSW.
“This culture of bullying and denial must be addressed before anyone can have confidence that WorkCover is up to the job of being a state-wide workplace regulator.
“This report is damning of the culture and capacity of WorkCover NSW and demands a complete overhaul of how the regulator is oversighted.
“The unanimous report also called for the urgent implementation of Statewide anti-bullying laws, a proposal which would provide essential protection for thousands of working people in the public sector.
“This is a stark wake-up call to WorkCover NSW and the new minister for Finance Dom Perrottet to urgently fix this broken and dysfunctional Workplace regulator,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Unanimous report calls for action on workcover bullying
Posted by Jessica Hook on June 19, 2014
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Adam Searle said the unanimous report on bullying in WorkCover sets out key recommendations that need to be implemented to fix the culture in the workplace safety regulator.
“The report provides a clear insight into the institutional problems of bullying inside the workplace safety regulator, allowed to flourish by a culture of denial and cover-up,” Adam Searle said.
“This unhealthy culture must change, and the report provides a road map for that change.
“The recommendations include the need for investigations that are independent of the agency, where the agency is the subject of the complaint and investigation.
“We also recommend that there should be laws that protect all workers, whether at work, or injured, from workplace bullying.
“These laws would extend not only to employers and all workplaces, but also to the staff of WorkCover and insurance company staff who manage workers compensation matters.
“The evidence of ( Workcover NSW) bullying and intimidation of injured workers, not only by their employer but even more disturbingly from WorkCover and the insurers who are supposed to be protecting them and assisting their recovery, is unacceptable. It must end.
“We want WorkCover to be an organisation that can lead by example – but it cannot do that as long as this culture of bullying remains.
“I am particularly pleased that the findings and recommendations were cross-party and unanimous. I call on the government to commit to implementing these important reforms.
“The Board that oversees the agency is hard-working, but may be overloaded in terms of its responsibilities. I invite the Minister to consider reform of the board structure.”
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