Shaun Tan’s response to the EPMU

I blogged earlier this week the ’s reasons for dismissing , and linked to their reasoning and evidence.

I’m happy to do the same for Shaun Tan with his response to them. He has provided me three documents.

  1. tan-response – a 13 page word document responding to the allegations
  2. tan-emails – a copy of e-mails referred to in the main response
  3. open-letter-to-epmu-members – an open letter from Shaun to EPMU members

The full documents are worth a read. The first section of the response is:

These unsatisfactory references stemmed from my stint at Finsec, where I was employed for a 12-month fixed-term contract. I was battling health issues at the time, so it is despicable for the EPMU to be publicising my private health matters in this manner – especially when I have now overcome these.

If the public must know, I was battling severe sleep apnoea at the time. This is a condition that causes you to fall asleep uncontrollably at unforeseen moments. So when the EPMU refers to my ‘lack of focus’, this would be in reference to my occasional spells of dozing off in the office while at Finsec.

I tried explaining this to the union, but it was not accepted – and was in fact dismissed as a lame excuse. This is despite sleep apnoea being a genuine, recognised and serious condition. I have documents from the Sleep Apnoea Clinic at Mercy Hospital to demonstrate that I indeed had a sleep study done there last year, and that a report was generated based on their findings.

For a union to persecute someone for a health condition is both morally repugnant and inimical to the principles of fairness and equality they are supposed to embody and in turn promulgate. Their actions are akin to disciplining someone because he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

And a later section responds to the e-mails with ACT people:

The EPMU have raised my e-mail correspondence with ACT personnel as a breach of work policy. Yet, one of their senior managers, National Education Officer Ross Teppett, lists his EPMU e-mail address on a Wellington Central Labour Party newsletter in his capacity as the co-ordinator of hoardings for Labour candidate Grant Robertson. The fact that Mr Teppett lists his work e-mail address in such a manner indicates that he is likely to be sending and receiving Labour e-mails during work time, and via work equipment.

Again, the EPMU demonstrates its blatantly duplicitous treatment of staff. Or worse: they have unwittingly acknowledged that they are not a third party.

It appears that the EPMU do not have a problem with these (and other) goings-on – except, of course, if it is ACT e-mails that are being sent and received. Perhaps the reason for this disparity in treatment is because the EPMU is intrinsically linked with Labour; thus, campaigning for Labour during EPMU time using EPMU equipment constitutes engaging in EPMU work.

Off memory too the (possibly former) Labour Electorate Chair for Northcote put out Labour Party press releases listing his EPMU address as a contact. This was a few months ago announcing the candidate I think.

I’ve blogged both sides to the story, and am not making any assertions or predictions about the outcome of any ERA decisions on whether the dismissal was justified.

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