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Beating workplace bullying motivated me, says new Unison president

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New Unison President Gordon McKay New Unison President Gordon McKay has 30 years' experience of mental health nursing, says he wants to show people ' that it's public services that hold our society together

New Unison president Gordon McKay has spoken of how challenging workplace bullying inspired his union activism. The mental health nurse from Ayrshire, who has just been elected the president of the public sector trade union for 2018-19, said he became a union activist after witnessing a colleague being publicly ‘dressed down’ by a manager in the early 1990s.

‘I just thought: "You know, I’m not putting up with any of that and if I can help people who either want to challenge that sort of behaviour or just need someone to talk to, then yeah, that’s going to be me,"’ he said.

Building on his work as a mental health nurse, Mr McKay will continue to work on the union’s current campaigns, including ‘Investing in the future of the NHS’ and ‘Mental health matters’, to argue for better funding for mental health services.

In his role as Union president he hopes to work with others to help continue making the case for public services and their importance in society.

‘You don’t achieve anything in the trade union movement by yourself. What you do is you achieve it with other people,’ Mr McKay said.

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I read with great interest (and delight) the motivation behind Gordon's rationale for joining Unison. Given how rife bullying is within the sector and in particular in MH Services, I sincerely hope that he will now fight tooth and nail to eradicate this horrendous practice. Local representatives need to be given much more training in how to deal with this scourge as, in my experience and that of many colleagues, we have not received the support we were led to expect and, as a matter of fact, my own Unison rep told me to "forget about it, no one ever wins a bullying case"!!!! You can imagine my horror at these words, I am sure but sadly, as far as she was concerned, despite having had personal knowledge of this particular bully over decades herself, and I was left high and dry and the bully was left to carry on with her appalling victimisation of staff. Sadly I lost of my husband and following this I left the Trust entirely as I could no longer tolerate the daily abuse I was having to endure.

I would sincerely hope that, now that Gordon has reached the level of President, this will not be allowed to happen ever again and that no one will be left in such a sorry state as myself and so many of my colleagues who had been victims of the same bully and let down so badly by their union reps.
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