Builders back inquiry to curb workplace bullying
The building and construction industry has welcomed the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment’s inquiry into workplace bullying and made several recommendations to help curb bullying at worksites.
Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia – the peak organisation for the building and construction industry said there is no place for bullying in the workplace.
“Every worker deserves the right to work in a safe environment, free from bullying. Master Builders is committed to improving the work health and safety performance of the industry.
“Workplace bullying usually occurs between individuals who work together in the same organisation, but in the building and construction industry bullying behaviour is also exhibited by third parties such as union officials.
“The key output for the inquiry must include a universally accepted objective definition of what constitutes workplace bullying. The lack of definition creates uncertainty for industry and workers and hinders effective action to curtail workplace bullying.
“Eliminating workplace bullying has the potential to improve industrial relations, workplace safety and productivity in the building and construction industry.
“The harmonised work health and safety legislation has scope for regulators to adopt interventions to curtail bullying. There is no need for new legislation. The building and construction industry would, however, welcome guidelines and education programmes to help stop workplace bullying, particularly after the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
“More informed employers and employees can work towards creating a workplace culture and environment in which bullying and workplace harassment will not be tolerated,” Mr Harnisch said.
Master Builders Australia warned that the universally adopted definition of bullying must not remove the right for managers to provide frank and honest feedback.
“It’s important to make the distinction that strong management and the exercise of legitimate managerial responsibilities, such as managing poor performance, is not labelled as workplace bullying,” Mr Harnisch concluded.