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UNISON ban for leaflet' quartet

PUBLISHED: 12:13 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

FOUR trade union workers have been banned for a total of 15 years after a witch hunt found them guilty of racism in connection

FOUR trade union workers have been banned for a total of 15 years after a 'witch hunt' found them guilty of racism in connection with a leaflet depicting the "three wise monkeys".

Onay Kasab from the Greenwich branch of UNISON and Glenn Kelly from the Bromley branch have both been banned from holding any UNISON office for three years.

Suzanne Muna from the Housing Corporation Branch has been banned for four years and Brian Debus from the Hackney branch has been banned for five years. All four are appealing the decision which cannot come into force until the appeal is concluded. Union bosses deemed the three monkeys image, from an ancient Buddhist proverb, racially offensive after it was handed out on a leaflet at its Brighton conference in 2007. 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.

Mr Kasab said: "It's a ridiculous sanction. They could have taken an educational approach. It has proved that this is a witch hunt - it's about getting rid of the four of us rather than racism. They're going to make a laughing stock out of the country's biggest trade union.

A spokesperson for UNISON said: "We can confirm that a National Executive Council panel found these members to have breached several UNISON rules, which require that 'members, activists, representatives and staff, are treated with dignity and respect at all times when participating in the union's democratic structures'."

The four are also using The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 to take their union to a tribunal, which is due to begin on August 10.

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