Case 012 - Aerospace manufacturing
I'm a father aged 42, married with 2 sons.
I worked at an aerospace company for 9 years where I was a shop floor production worker and labourer.
I had brought to the surface breaches of safety practices in 1996, but my problems did not really start until 1997. A change in middle management occurred. There was an immediate unwarranted "redundancy" and enforced changes to our contracts of employment. Long-serving union stewards were "got rid of" either through resignation, redundancy or retirement. These stewards were replaced by incompetent "yes" men.
It seemed the new "manager" ruled with an iron fist and was basically a bully. He surrounded himself with staff he had recruited in his own image.
My victimisation started in early 1998 straight after the redundancies. It was only by a fluke of luck that I was not made redundant. First of all my pay was affected.
Then I was singled out. I was made a "floating" labourer, the only one out of 8 other labourers to do so. I was to report to a supervisor every morning to find out where I was working. I was never allowed to settle or gain a routine, and an even more degrading job would be waiting for me every time I complained. I was the only one of 600 men to have to do this. I had served 8 years at the factory without having to do these things before. It was only after the introduction of the new management that things turned downhill.
It was like a cloud of evil had descended on the factory. Everyone was afraid of this evil.
I complained to the recently "elected" shop convenor. It was obvious that this man was a union man in name only, you could actually smell his apathy. This only made things worse.
I knew that I was being harassed and bullied, I felt like I was being forced in to resigning. Every reasonable step I took to resolve my situation was refused or worse I was totally ignored, all the time my treatment seemed to get harsher, I was given totally menial tasks, which when complained about would result in me being given physically impossible tasks.
It was like I was being mentally tortured by an experienced torturer.
To cut a long story short I eventually suffered a breakdown in October 1998. This not only devastated me but all my family too.
The personnel department had also previously been devastated by the new managers and most personnel staff had resigned.
New personnel staff did not seen to last long and did nothing to help. Indeed if anything they denied bullying and covered up my claims of mistreatment.
I was "retired" in November 1999. I was diagnosed as mentally ill (paranoid). I am still fighting this tag to this day. I admit that my behaviour went "silly", but I know I am not paranoid. My behaviour was entirely due to my treatment by my so called boss. My family have suffered for over three years. I was deserted by my so-called trade union despite me being a trade union activist for 20 years.
If it was not for Tim Field and his own experiences I would be dead now. A dead "loony".
I say to any other victim out there ... Get off your knees and fight back.
Update, Autumn 2001
I was re-diagnosed in June 2001 as suffering from "stress reaction" to a real situation. I had previously been diagnosed as suffering from a "paranoid psychosis". I had been taking the usual anti-psychotic medication for over two years and two medical reports to my employer's pension trustees labelled me paranoid. I was retired on health grounds because of this mistake. The Doctor has admitted that he gave me a wrong diagnosis.
I am now trying to take legal action against the bully. The three year time limit is almost up and has Mr Field states the legal situation is a farce regarding bullying at work is concerned. It is vital that PTSD is recognised as being caused from workplace bullying.
Update January 2003
After being left to battle alone I have lost in Tribunal 3 times.
I was even ordered to pay my own union £5000 in "costs". This union is a disgrace. They used this to exclude me from the union like some "scab."
My family life is destroyed. I suffer on a daily basis because the bully has friends in high places. The facts are there for everyone to see. It is easier to turn away. We have the "Kings Clothes" syndrome in this country where the mortgage and credit card statements come first, they come before any thoughts of human compassion. Sadly it is usually the workplace bully that controls the pay packet therefore they control the thoughts of cowards.
May I wish anyone suffering, like I do, peace of mind.
Update, January 2005
I was diagnosed as suffering from PTSD again in August 2005 at Cheadle Royal Hospital. You would have thought with this information, added to a previous diagnosis of PTSD in June 2001, that the NHS would admit that the diagnosis of 'Paranoid Psychosis' was woefully wrong. No! Despite the fact the Doctor who made the paranoid diagnosis in 1999 verbally admitted his diagnosis was wrong, the board of directors at Lancashire Healthcare Trust blatantly ignore the facts. They also use spin doctor tactics or ignorance to cover this up. The only path for me is to seek legal redress against the NHS for failing in its duty of care.
The mental health clinic involved, Lamont Clinic in Burnley Lancashire, has a history of patient abuse, mental, physical, and sexual abuse was carried out covertly for decades. It is all recorded in the law courts but I ask who really cares. The only good news I have had lately, from the directors of Lancashire NHS is that the Lamont Clinic is to close, and the Doctor responsible for organising the medical reports claiming I was paranoid, to my bully boy boss, in 1999 has 'left'. I have also received very good information that the same Doctor also 'arranged' for another patient to be branded paranoid, but this was for political reasons not to cover up for work abuse. How are victims of bullying at work going to receive justice when the NHS mental health services in this country are in chaos?
The average worker is powerless against powerful employers and Doctors who prefer to serve local and regional professional cliques than tend to the needs of PTSD sufferers. The fact is that the vast majority of people who try and get help for the symptoms of PTSD are going to be deemed paranoid. This will only add to the problems of the sufferer and stop any redress to the bully from happening. In my case the bully enjoyed me being branded paranoid more than he enjoyed causing my suffering.