Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Staff of Perth College facing bullying and harassment, internal study reveals

Perth College
Perth College

More than a quarter of staff at Perth College say they have been subjected to bullying, a leaked study has revealed.

The internal questionnaire found that more than 40% faced some degree of “personal harassment in the form of unkind words or behaviour”.

Details of the stress study emerged as college management faced criticism for a memo to employees, asking them to sign in during a day of industrial action on Thursday or have their wages cut.

Cyber attack forces Perth College to shut down campus

It followed an email last week, informing employees that their wages had been impacted by a recent cyber attack which forced the campus to close.

One staff member described Wednesday morning’s email as “threatening” and said it was further evidence of a “bullying culture” at the college.

The trade union Unison said it was concerned about the tone of the email, and said it amounted to punitive measures against its members who “have risked life and limb supporting students throughout the pandemic”.

Principal Margaret Cook stressed that the college – part of the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) – was “working hard” to address issues raised in the survey. A “responsive action plan” was being drawn up, she said.

What the survey revealed

Nearly 280 support, academic and managerial staff responded to the stress survey  which was carried out by education and technology firm JISC. The college has a total workforce of around 500.

Just under 60% of respondents said they had never suffered personal harassment, while 26.2% said they seldom did. Others said they faced harassment sometimes (10.5%), often (3.6%) and always (1.1%).

Asked if they were subject to bullying at work, 204 (73.6%) said never, while 48 (17.3%) said seldom and 25 (9%) replied sometimes, often or always.

Of those who filled in the questionnaire, 126 said there was sometimes, often or always “friction and anger between colleagues,” while 47% said they were more-than-seldom “pressured to work long hours”.

Union calls for inquiry as cash-strapped Perth College announces job losses

Cyber attack impacted payroll system

The college campus was forced to temporarily close after a cyber attack at the beginning of the month. Staff were told last week that, as a result, they would be paid an advance instead of their usual salary. This advance was calculated as an estimate of net pay, and would be deducted from their wages once the payroll system becomes operational again.

Wednesday morning’s email regarding industrial action by union Educational Institute of Scotland-Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) informed staff that the college would operate a register system.

“All staff working (whether that is on campus or from home) will be asked to sign-in on the day. Failure to sign-in will result in a pay deduction,” the memo stated.

“Any employees who do not sign-in will be presumed to be participating in the strike, including those who have not been specifically called out on strike.”

A spokesperson for Unison said: “Our members are not directly involved in the dispute and should not have additional punitive measures imposed up on them because of industrial action being taken by our colleagues.

“We were concerned and disappointed by the tone of the email sent out to our members, particularly in the week that marks a year since many began working from home.

“It is even more difficult to fathom when our members have risked life and limb supporting students throughout the pandemic and this is how they are treated in a dispute which has nothing to do with them.”

Survey to support staff wellbeing

Margaret Cook of Perth College for announcement on Tay Cities deal funding. Monday, 7th January, 2019. Kris Miller, DCT Media.

College principal Margaret Cook explained the stress survey was undertaken to evaluate how employees were coping during a challenging year.

“We have received some very positive feedback and also responses that we are working hard to address through the development of a responsive action plan which will be shared with staff,” she said.

“The purpose of these internal staff surveys are to support staff in a positive manner and improve any areas identified to help staff wellbeing.”

Responding to criticism about this week’s memo, Dr Cook said: “As outlined in a communication to staff, we created a sign-in process to capture staff who chose not to participate in the industrial action.

“This process was created in order not to disadvantage anyone and to ensure salaries are accurate – we don’t wish to add unnecessary financial pressures on our valued colleagues.

“I would like to reiterate that the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is of utmost importance to us at Perth College UHI, particularly considering the level of effort, commitment and professionalism that has been made over the last year to continue to deliver our core remit of providing learning opportunities.

“We regularly offer resources, a weekly update and opportunity for open dialogue in order to support our college community as best we can. We very much recognise this is a difficult time for everyone and continue to thank all our staff and students for their continuing patience and support through a cyber incident, national industrial action and global pandemic.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in