EPMU holds Kangaroo Court via email

Below is a copy of an email that Andrew Little has sent to ALL EPMU members. It makes for enlightening reading. Essentially this email stuffs any chance that Shawn Tan would have got a fair hearing from the Union. [My comments are in Bold]

EPMU News: special edition – a message from the National Secretary

24 August 2008

You may have heard some media coverage over the last few days about an issue the union is currently dealing with over one of our employees, Shawn Tan. Apart from responding to some media queries on the issue, the union has been constrained in what it can say publicly, and it still is constrained. [Yeah, so constrained that you sent this email to ALL of your members] The reason for this is obvious. [Though not obvious enough for Andrew Little to have refrained from sending this email] Shawn faces allegations from the union as his employer. [Those allegations would be that he dares to hold political opinions that differ from the group-thought of the union] Those allegations are under investigation. [Oh I just bet they are, along with any other impure anti-union thought he may have had or may have in the future] Shawn is entitled to have the allegations put fully and properly to him, to have a chance to provide his responses and explanations and any other information, to do so with the benefit of representation and to have his responses properly considered before the union draws any conclusions and makes any decisions. [But only after we have made sure that there is no possiblilty of anyone in the Union giving him a fair go by senbding out this email] Ironically, these are the very rights we are campaigning on for all workers at the moment. [Those be the rights to hold ANY political belief other than the Union’s approved belief] The union would be acting in breach of its obligations to Shawn as an employee if it entered into a public discussion of the situation at this point. [Though this email certainly doesn’t count as all as a public discussion does it?] Shawn is currently suspended from his employment on full pay. He remains an employee and is entitled to the dignity of being treated as such while we deal with the issues over his employment. [Except we have sent out this email so you all know who he is and should treat him in an approved Union manner short of giving him the bash, shunning, blacklisting and writing “scab” on his belongings are all OK]

Because of the fierce public attacks on the union by some people over the last few days, we felt it important for you to be informed about the issue to the best extent possible. [Yeah our PR boys were busy with the Standard and even then couldn’t come up with a strategy to get us out f this one so Tane, oops soory, I meant Neale Jones suggest we run with a “Ramshackle PR Fiasco”] The background to the matters is as follows.

Shawn is an organiser in the union’s call centre and has been since March this year. He has been selected as a candidate for the ACT party, both on the Party’s list and for the electorate of Mt Roskill. An issue has arisen because it is a requirement of the union’s staff collective agreement [An illegal requirement], and it would be a requirement even if it were not in the employment agreement, that any staff member wishing to seek public office needs to have the union’s permission [Uhmmmm no they don’t the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act specifically override this], a decision made by the union’s national executive. That requirement is known to Mr Tan. He has not sought the union’s permission at any time. [Except when his supervsor said he should resign if he did such an appalling thing as stand for ACT] In his public statements Mr Tan is contesting whether he was reminded of this requirement in July. [You know when his supervisor suggested he resign, sort of, like constructively] Other issues concerning Shawn’s employment have emerged since he was suspended and they are also now being addressed. [I bet they are, his clear failure to attend indoctrination classes, failure of mind-control lessons and impure captialist thoughts are just a few of the ever growing list of “issues”]

All information relevant to these issues held by the union has been disclosed to Shawn’s representatives and a meeting is scheduled for Monday to start the process of hearing his responses. Shawn’s representatives have also requested mediation which we have agreed to and we are awaiting confirmation of a date for this.

The need to seek permission to undertake candidacy for public office is obvious. A person campaigning for public office needs time off work, and whether this is paid or unpaid, this needs to be accommodated by the union by redeploying others or requiring others to pick up the extra workload. There is no inherent right to be released by your employer to do out-of-work activities that have a bearing on your employment. This year, the union has received two other applications by staff to seek public office. One was as a Labour candidate for an electorate seat in the general election and the other was as a Labour candidate for a local body by-election. In the first case, approval was given on the basis the staff member used annual leave for any campaigning in work time. In the second case approval was not given because of the pressure of work on the union and we were not prepared to release the staff member for the time needed. [Hmmm another case of breaching Human Rights, are there any that the Union actually upholds]

The subject of Mr Tan’s employment issues with the EPMU was disclosed to the media by Mr Tan and ACT party officials last week and they have predictably sought to portray it as political. [Duh!, it is political you numpty, he is standing for parliament for a political party, it just happens to be against the approved union political party] We are committed to abiding by our legal and moral obligations to Mr Tan to treat him properly in terms of due process. [Then why did you send out this email?] It should be noted that these are the sorts of requirements on employers the ACT Party has consistently and vigorously campaigned against. [Prove that] We also have obligations to you as EPMU members to uphold the values and principles of the union which are to defend and progress workers’ rights and interests in all spheres.

Andrew Little
National Secretary
Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union