Union in­ves­ti­gates ‘bul­ly­ing’

Pilbara News - - News - ■ Louise Alling­ham

Trans­port Work­ers Union rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mick Con­nolly wants ac­tion to be taken re­gard­ing a num­ber of al­leged bul­ly­ing in­ci­dents that took place on the Kar­ratha Health Cam­pus and waste wa­ter pump sta­tion work sites.

Mr Con­nolly is speak­ing out on be­half of Jo-Ann Wil­liams, who ap­proached the union with claims she was abused and bul­lied at the sites by a Downer EDI con­trac­tor.

“Jo-Ann (was used) as a source of hu­mour to boost (that per­son) up; reg­u­larly mak­ing re­marks about her, to her and at her,” Mr Con­nolly said.

Mr Con­nolly has writ­ten let­ters of com­plaint to sev­eral par­ties in­volved in the projects and said he has not yet seen any sat­is­fac­tory re­sults.

“I spoke to Down­ers, who sug­gested they had done an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and were sat­is­fied with the out­come, but the out­come did noth­ing at that point to pro­vide any pro­tec­tion to Jo-Ann,” he said.

Mr Con­nolly even ap­proached Pil­bara MLA Bren­don Grylls who told him he does not have the power or au­thor­ity to in­ter­vene in the al­leged work­site bul­ly­ing.

“How can some­body who over­sees lo­cal govern­ment projects and in­fra­struc­ture in the re­gion that he’s re­spon­si­ble for sim­ply say ‘Well yes they’re con­tracted to us but if they’re do­ing the wrong thing, we don’t have the au­thor­ity to step in and cor­rect that ac­tion’,” Mr Con­nolly said.

Mr Grylls re­sponded say­ing that while he found it ap­pro­pri­ate to con­tact him re­gard­ing the mat­ter, it needed to be taken through the ap­pro­pri­ate chan­nels.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate (Mr Con­nolly) rais­ing my aware­ness of that so that I know about it; that is ap­pro­pri­ate, but I don’t take for­mal com­plaints about bul­ly­ing; that’s out­side of my scope and ju­ris­dic­tion.”

Mr Con­nolly has also reached out to WorkSafe on Ms Wil­liams’ be­half and said he was told it was not their role to me­di­ate with the par­ties in­volved in the mat­ter.

A spokesper­son from WorkSafe stated that al­though this was true it was their “role to en­sure that an em­ployer has ad­e­quate pro­ce­dures in place to deal with is­sues such as bul­ly­ing in their work­place” and that they could not ac­cept bul­ly­ing com­plaints from a third party.

Ms Wil­liams is in the process of lodg­ing a com­plaint with WorkSafe.

Downer EDI and Land­corp did not re­spond to th­ese claims by time of print.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

The al­leged bul­ly­ing in­ci­dents hap­pened on the Kar­ratha Health Cam­pus and waste wa­ter pump sites.

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