Herald attack on EPMU goes all out

The Tabloid on Sunday is tragic. It can only be a deliberate attempt to sink the EPMU and the Labour Party. From this morning’s unbelievably biased piece on Shawn Tan’s employment dispute with his employer:

“He also claims if he was standing for the Labour party, he would still have his job.”

This is factually incorrect, and the Herald must surely know that. Tan has not lost his job. He has been suspended while his empoyer investigates a breach of his collective employment agreement.

But this is not the first time the Herald has distorted the truth in its pursuit of the EPMU. Thursday’s editorial was a masterclass in presenting unfounded supposition as fact.

The Herald’s antipathy to the union takes a sinster edge in John Drinnan’s Thursday column:

“But [the employment dispute, which Drinnan terms a “row”] illustrates what Little acknowledges is a tension between the EPMU – working actively for re-election of Labour – and journalist members who are required to be independent but are pilloried for belonging to a Labour-affiliated union.

“The EPMU insists that journalist membership fees are kept separate from calculations contributing to its affiliation payments to Labour and is changing rules for other members to define whether their membership is counted in contributions to Labour and the Greens.

“But as the election season ramps up, journalists have to face criticism they are in an organisation that is on the frontline backing one party.”

Arrant nonsense. The biggest irony is that this attack on the journalists’ freedom to join a union of their own chosing comes from an employer which purports to be defending Tan’s right to stand for Parliament (whatever the operational consequences for his employer and regardless of the contractual provisions of his employment).

Why the Herald’s dogged attacks on the EPMU? Well, are newspaper employers the world over currently trying to reduce their wage bills? Has the Herald been consistently attacking Labour and its allies over the past year?

I’m thinking that there’s enough obvious lying and carelessness with the facts here for a complaint to the Press Council.

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5 Responses to “Herald attack on EPMU goes all out”

  1. Inventory2 Says:

    Oh lighten up JP – sheesh – someone has to balance out the Sunday Star Times and its aspiring editor Nicky Hager!

  2. John Drinnan Says:

    Sinister? – blimminy – where is the sinister edge there?

    Fact is the Shawn Tan affair is complicated.

    The row is not black and white

    Re your blog – I won’t answer for the Herald.

    But as far as the item goes – its a valid story.

    For some journalists it bring to a head existing concerns about the EPMU and the increasingly thin line between journalists; union and Labour.

    Admittedly the EPMU journalist union membership has fallen so far it is hard to quantify numbers.

    Some – i would not be surprised if it were the majority – have no concerns whatsoever.

    Some others including myself ask – can I be a unionist and not be caught up as a third party in a party election campaign?

    Concerns were raised at an EPMU chapel meeting last week. Andrew Little was there.

    An EPMU line advanced at that meeting was that the union was like “a religion” according to its organisers – and journalist had to view the Shawn Tan affair in that context.

    Presumably organisers are the priests and we members are the flock.

    I did not join a religion.

    And silly old me – I thought the union belonged to the members, not the staff.

    Beyond the disquiet over Shawn Tan, does \the EPMU want to represent journalists interests in independence. And with increasingly explicit ties to one political party, is it capable of it?

    Surely a media column can ask that question without it being a right wing conspiracy.

  3. jafapete Says:

    John, Thanks for that. Have to be elsewhere for an hour or so and will reposnd to your very reasonable points after. Cheers P

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