Radical unionist faces rap for racist' leaflet
PUBLISHED: 10:36 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 August 2010
WORKERS are taking their trade union to a tribunal after they claim a witch hunt found them guilty of racism in connection with a leaflet depicting the three wise monkeys . UNISON members Onay Kasab, from the Greenwich branch, Brian Debus from Hackney
WORKERS are taking their trade union to a tribunal after they claim a 'witch hunt' found them guilty of racism in connection with a leaflet depicting the 'three wise monkeys'.
UNISON members Onay Kasab, from the Greenwich branch, Brian Debus from Hackney, Glenn Kelly, from Bromley, and Suzanne Muna from the Housing Corporation section have been found guilty of racism by their union.
Union bosses deemed the three monkeys image, from an ancient Buddhist proverb, racially offensive last Thursday after it was handed out on a leaflet at its 2007 Brighton conference.
The leaflet which included the slogan "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" criticised the public service union for ruling out certain topics for discussion at its conferences.
The four were also found guilty of attacking the union's standing orders committee which decides what is debated at its conferences.
Now they are using employment legislation The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 to take their union to a tribunal.
Mr Kasab said: "It is an outrageous decision arising from a witch hunt. It has been going on for two years and to find us guilty is ludicrous.
"We fail to accept that somebody may find it offensive.
"The leaflet was handed out at the conference by mostly black women from Hackney.
"Our punishment could be anything from us having to attend a course to being expelled.
"The real worry is that those with differing views and people who speak up may end up facing similar charges.
"There were five of us facing allegations but only four of us had action taken against us. We are all members of the Socialist party and the fifth person is not.
"They are trying to clear out the militants from the union before the next general election when there will be massive cuts.
"The leadership are tied in with the Labour Party at a national level. The link with the party should be cut."
The tribunal is due to take place on August 10 for five days, where the four are not allowed to use any of the union's resources and therefore plan to represent themselves.
The union however will be using members' subs to instruct a barrister.
UNISON declined to comment.