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Protestant worker ‘disgusted’ at lack of disciplinary action

‘Bullied’ hospital worker speaks out

By Scott Jamison

One of the security workers at the centre of claims of ongoing bullying at the City Hospital has described a year-long investigation into the allegations as “a sham”.

The Protestant worker, who asked not to be named, told how he was eventually transferred to another hospital after complaining about a small group of workers who, he said, “made everyone’s life hell” with a string of sectarian and racist incidents.

Last month we revealed how the investigation at the South Belfast hospital had caused fury among staff who had come forward to speak out on the issue after the Trust failed to take action against a single employee. The inquiry came after claims regarding:  the placing of Rangers Football Club memorabilia in the workplace; the daubing of sectarian graffiti onto lockers; National Front material pinned to a noticeboard and a picture of paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth placed on the workers’ rota book on St Patrick’s Day with comments about paedophiles.

The worker claimed although he witnessed the sectarian and racist bullying of a number of his colleagues first hand, for him personally it was “all about personality”.

“I’m Protestant but I complained after the picture of Brendan Smyth was put on the rota book. I was then pulled aside by one of those behind it and told to ‘decide what side I was on’ because I had complained.

“I worked there for five years until recently and I was bullied from the start by at least two of these guys. They just took an instant dislike to me and because I didn’t join in with their bullying, that made it worse for me.

“It’s not a nice thing to have to come to work every day and put up with people constantly belittling you, not to mention watching Catholic and ethnic minority colleagues being targeted as well.”

The investigation by Belfast Trust into the complaints about bullying started last December and ended in June. However, in December security workers were told the subsequent report would not be released due to the danger of identifying people who had made submissions to management. Instead, a series of recommendations were handed out, advising staff on how to behave in the workplace.

When asked for a comment by the South Belfast News in December, a Belfast Trust spokesperson told us none could be made on the matter as the investigation was ongoing. This is despite the SBN being in possession of a letter delivered to staff members and dated November 28 referring to the investigation as “complete”.

When queried further this week a Trust spokesperson said nothing else would be added to their original statement.

The worker added he was extremely disappointed with the outcome of the inquiry.

“I had faith that something would be done, that’s why I decided to speak up and give evidence to the investigation. I hoped this was going to end it once and for all because you can’t get away with this sort of thing. But to get to the end of the process and find the Trust is not going to do anything is disgusting. I don’t know how this can go on in a major organisation such as this. In the end nothing was sorted out and no-one was disciplined.”




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