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by Conrad Landin, Industrial Reporter
A BOSS told workers that the Labour voters among them would be first on the redundancy list, the Morning Star can reveal today.
John Brooker, the managing director of Watford-based IT firm Storm Technologies, was accused of “Dickensian workhouse nonsense” after he appeared to attempt to frighten his staff into voting Conservative.
Mr Brooker defended the email as “internal banter,” but trade union GMB said his claim that the message was a joke was itself “laughable.”
His email said: “Just a heads up though, VOTE CONSERVATIVE if you believe in free enterprise and progression without being taxed out of the game.”
Branding Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a “nightmare,” he said: “If by any chance Labour win, we’ll have to rethink a few things here at the company, so if you value your job and want to hold on to your hard-earned money, vote Conservative.
“Labour voters will be made redundant first if Labour do win and things slow down.
“Anyway, just sharing my personal thoughts with you. Feel free to vote for whoever you want, but I have said my piece.”
GMB, which represents workers at the company, hit out at the email.
“A company boss should not be harassing employees or interfering with their right to vote for who they wish,” the union’s London region secretary Warren Kenny said. “It’s Dickensian workhouse nonsense.
“Any staff working for John Brooker should have been able to vote for their candidate or party of choice without fear for their jobs and their livelihoods.”
Storm Technologies, which employs 109 staff, has been approved as a public services IT reseller under the new Crown Commercial Services Agreement. Its highest-paid director received £355,382 in 2015, according to company accounts. The company’s two shareholders, Mr Brooker and Soraya Brooker, were paid £1.6 million in dividends.
Labour shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett fumed: “It’s absolutely bloody appalling. This is going back to Victorian times.
“The whole business of the secret ballot is to prevent exactly this from happening.”
But Mr Brooker claimed: “The email was a ‘tongue in cheek’ note sent immediately after a large group of my staff and I were having a joke in the company canteen on the day of the election and was totally meant in jest.
“We have a very open culture in the office here where people are free to express their opinions and share a joke or two. No offence was intended, nor was there any threat whatsoever levelled at staff.
“This was nothing more than ‘Internal Banter’ [sic] now completely taken out of context. Obviously in hindsight I regret any offence this has caused and have reiterated to all my staff the respect I have for their political views and opinions.”
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