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Morgan condemns Irish workplace violence

22 February, 2007

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Workers Rights Deputy Arthur Morgan today expressed grave concern at the results of a European wide study that found that workers in this state suffer more workplace-related stress, and higher than average levels of physical violence in the workplace than their European counterparts.

The Louth TD said, "The results of this study are deeply worrying. The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions found Irish Employees report higher than average levels of physical violence in the workplace - at a rate of 8% compared with the level of 5% across the EU. It is shocking to find that 9% of workers in this state have reported experiencing workplace bullying and harassment. It is no wonder then that Ireland has incredibly high levels of workplace-related stress.

"'Noxious' or 'toxic' levels of work-related stress result in poor health for workers. Work-related stress contributes to illnesses including increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, depression and even suicide. Bullying behaviour is increasingly common in the workplace. It involves intentional intimidation, humiliation, domination or degradation on the part of co-workers or managers, and can take the form of physical or emotional, verbal, written or electronically transmitted abuse, or attacks against the property of another. It can involve taunting, name-calling and put-downs, including those based on a worker's race, nationality, ethnicity (including status as a Traveller), gender, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, disability etc. Bullying not only creates a toxic work environment but can represent a violation of workers' equality rights or other human rights. Sinn Fein condemns the level of bullying and violence in the workplace.

"Sinn Féin supports many of the recommendations in the Expert Advisory Group's report, in particular the conclusion that bullying is a health and safety risk, and that policies and procedures to mitigate that risk should therefore be mandatory in every employer's Safety Statement; the recommendation to publish a formal model for the handling of bullying cases for the guidance of employers in their dispute resolution procedures; and that the Labour Relations Commission should become the single State agency in the 26 Counties charged with the management of specific allegations of workplace bullying." ENDS

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