Dodgy Unions

Unions love to point out bad bosses, but who, apart from me, will point out when unions are bad bosses?

How bad is our employment law when even a union can’t sack staff properly?

New Zealand’s largest union has been forced to pay $5000 for unfairly firing a sick Wellington worker.

In a decision released this morning, the Employment Relations Authority found the Public Service Association unjustifiably dismissed Mary-Anne Kindell on September 23, 2011.

The association is New Zealand’s biggest union, representing 58,000 public sector workers.

The authority found the association had not given Kindell an opportunity to respond to the dismissal or adequately determined whether she could return to work.

Kindell had worked at the association’s Wellington office since 2005, but was dismissed after several extended periods of sick leave on pay, which included being hospitalised eight times.

Before dismissing her, the association made several attempts to assess whether Kindell could return to work, most of which never took place following disagreements.

But the authority said the association should have tried harder before dismissing Ms Kindell without assessing whether she could return to work.

“A fair and reasonable employer could have investigated better by persevering to engage Ms Kindell and assemble all relevant information from the appropriate medical sources before making a final decision.”

You have to wonder though if there is a need for a union to protect workers from the perils of union bosses. Perhaps it could be called the Union Workers Union?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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