Stressed-out local authority employees

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Last week’s page one article about work-related stress at Scottish Borders Council rings true.

I have two close friends who have experienced exactly the type of appalling management behaviour described. Both had long careers with other organisations before joining the council and neither had ever had any previous stress-related sickness absence. And yet over the last two years both have had many months’ sickness absence and been distressed by the type of unfair and resentful management behaviour referred to in your article.

Employee policies supposedly in place to ensure basic rights and fairness are ignored and it seems that managers are allowed to simply disregard employees’ concerns.

A very poor standard of human resources and legal functions seem to be part of the problem, since instead of conducting proper investigations, they turn a blind eye. Senior managers seem more than happy to close ranks to frustrate an employee’s attempts to find out the truth.

The fact that it is also apparently declared a disciplinary offence for a council employee (who is at his or her wits’ end) to seek support from a councillor is invidious. I wonder what sort of chief executive and directors choose to operate in that way and what does it say about the quality of leadership when stress absence is at an all-time high?

Any why on Earth are our councillors – who are, after all, the employers of the staff – content for employees to be treated in this way?

Scottish Borders Council is indeed a dark place these days.

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