Bullying affects over 25 percent at work; Deputy PM to tackle issue

Minister Lodewijk Asscher
. image taken from nl.wikipedia.org

More than 25 percent of people in the Netherlands are bullied by colleagues or supervisors. A total of 500 thousand people were harassed in the workplace last year. On Sunday Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs launched a campaign to address this problem.

This campaign is aimed on both people being bullied, and their unaffected coworkers. "Seven million colleagues every day have the opportunity to stop bullying in the workplace." Asscher said. "Employers and employees have to discuss the subject with each other, break through the taboo. Because the consequences of bullying should not be thought of lightly. It attacks the dignity of the affected people, ruining the enjoyment of work and leading to psychological problems and failure."

Minister Asscher's campaign includes a where employees and employers can find information on how to identify and stop bullying in the workplace, as well as radio commercials calling on employers and employees to work on stopping bullying.

According to research commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs, bullying in the workplace does not only have a major impact on those affected, but also cause an estimated 4 million extra days of absence. This means 900 million euros in wages that employers have to pay to absent employees, based on calculations by TNO.