Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Commission to probe claims pressure by councillors made staff ill with stress

The Local Government Staff Commission is set to meet with Limavady's Mayor amid allegations that unnamed councillors have put staff under undue pressure, causing them to take sick leave through stress.



Mayor Edwin Stevenson said he contacted the Staff Commission after voicing his concerns at a council meeting last week.

In a statement read to councillors at the meeting, he said: "Over the past few months there have been serious disruptions in this council. There have been various accusations concerning various matters which still remain unresolved.

"There have also been pressures put on staff which has resulted in absence from work and stress-related illness. I also believe that officers are being subjected to undue pressure and stress due to the manner of questioning adopted by some elected representatives.

"I am therefore contacting the Staff Commission requesting that they instigate an investigation into every department and at all levels. I do this in the sincere hope that better relations and mutual respect can be achieved in this council."

But he refused to comment on claims by Sinn Fein that his complaint was targeting them.

Sinn Fein councillor Paddy Butcher today said he would welcome any inquiry.

Mr Stevenson said: "I will be talking to the Staff Commissioner in the next couple of weeks and that will probably be the take-off. They will have to talk to me first and see what my concerns are and decide what they want to do."

A spokesman for the Commission confirmed they had received a letter from Mr Stevenson at the end of last week, requesting a meeting to discuss his concerns.

The Commission, which offers advice on human resource issues to councils across Northern Ireland, will then decide on the appropriate course of action.

Mr Butcher said elected representatives "have a responsibility to hold management accountable and ensure they earn their keep".

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