The recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision which found that a Bradford bus driver was unlawfully dismissed for his politics is a significant turn of events. The Court held that the sacking breached his right to ‘Freedom of Association'.
Up until now some assumed that political affiliation, possibly even political belief, was not a ‘protected characteristic’ such as race, gender, religion etc. This ruling shoots holes in that view, and Solidarity expects this judgement to be quoted in all future cases of political discrimination.
The ECHR judgement concerned a Bradford bus driver, Mr Arthur Redfearn, who was dismissed from his job by the private firm Serco due to his membership of the British National Party. In 2004. Serco successfully argued, in a British tribunal, that Mr Redfern jeopardised the ‘Health & Safety’ of users because his views might offend others and attract violent opposition.
The ECHR clearly thought that such an argument was risible (see full judgement here: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/webservices/content/pdf/001-114240?TID=lfblnuwpqw).
Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, said:
"As a liberal and libertarian trade union Solidarity has always regarded political discrimination to be an evil. Workers should be protected from those employers who seek to discriminate against people on political grounds just as they are protected on other counts such as their sexuality, sex, race and so on. No one should lose their job due to a management’s whim or prejudice. That's why our Union welcomes this landmark judgement."
POLICE/PRISON SERVICE THE NEXT TEST?
We expect that the next test of our present UK law will be the Prison and Police service banning of members of ‘extremist’ groups/parties. We believe it will be overturned, as it should in a democratic society.
Pat Harrington said: "Our Employment Law must be amended to reflect the judgement and make it illegal for any organisation to discriminate against someone for their political views/membership of political groups."
Contact: Solidarity General Secretary, Patrick Harrington on 07794 486858 or firstname.lastname@example.org & http://www.solidaritytradeunion.org
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