WorkCover bullying alleged - The Newcastle Herald - Public Service Association

WorkCover bullying alleged – The Newcastle Herald

By Michelle Harris

THE state authority responsible for investigating workplace bullying can’t effectively regulate itself, having failed to address a culture of bullying within its ranks for years, an inquiry was told yesterday.

Hearings began yesterday for the NSW parliamentary inquiry convened after the case of WorkCover employee Wayne Butler and persistent claims of systemic bullying.

In June, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission ordered Mr Butler be reinstated after he was sacked following an internal investigation that commission deputy president Rodney Harrison described as little more than a ‘‘witch-hunt’’ and characteristic of ‘‘institutional bullying’’.

Yesterday, the Public Service Association said WorkCover was still refusing to discuss the systemic problems highlighted in Mr Butler’s case.

Association industrial officer Jann Jeffries told the inquiry it had sought to discuss the issue of flawed investigations arising from the case ‘‘numerous times and the answer is, ‘We will not be talking about that case’’’.

‘‘Can I ask you specifically who gave you that feedback? Or is there correspondence you can provide that evidences this?’’ Labor MP Adam Searle asked.

‘‘I don’t have any correspondence but that the [chief executive] herself has said that,’’ Ms Jeffries said.

Unions and other stakeholders told the inquiry that concerns had been raised for years about bullying but WorkCover seemed unable to accept a problem existed, harming the authority’s ‘‘credibility’’ as a regulator. An independent body was needed to investigate complaints made against it.

‘‘If you can’t resolve the issues internally within your own organisation how do you regulate the other organisations within society as a whole that you are responsible … to regulate,’’ Public Service Association assistant general secretary Steve Turner said.

 He  said the union had met with Finance Minister Andrew Constance last week and he assured it that the issues would be addressed.

The inquiry is continuing.

The Newcastle Herald – WorkCover bullying alleged

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