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Posted Saturday, September 5, 1998


Hypocrisy Update

The Times

September 5 1998

Hain must pay his secretary £3,000 for unfair sacking


IT WAS the ultimate humiliation for a Sixties radical turned government minister with special responsibility for employment. An industrial tribunal ordered Peter Hain to pay £3,000 compensation to his former secretary after ruling yesterday that he had sacked her unfairly.

As former opposition employment spokesman Mr Hain took a special interest in the issues of low pay, stress and job insecurity. As an employer, the tribunal was told, he paid his secretary £8,000 a year, then made her redundant when she took time off suffering from stress.

EasterDonna Easter, 32, a single mother of two who worked in Mr Hain's constituency office in Neath, South Wales, for six years, was awarded the compensation after the tribunal decided that her dismissal was not a genuine redundancy.

Mr Hain, now a Minister at the Welsh Office with responsibility for employment, allegedly told Miss Easter that he wanted her out for "bringing personal problems into the office". Miss Easter began as a trainee in 1992, when she was paid £35 for a 15-hour week. She stayed and in 1995 become his secretary on a salary of £8,000. The tribunal was told that Miss Easter became ill with stress after a long-running dispute with neighbours and took two months sick leave. Her absence caused "severe problems" in Mr Hain's office.


In April Mr Hain told Miss Easter that her services were no longer required and her post was filled by two secretaries on a job-share scheme. She was given a £500 redundancy payment. She told the hearing: "He said I shouldn't bring my problems into the office and he could no longer give me employment."

After the ruling, Miss Easter said: "I'm very sad that an employment minister should have caused my unemployment. I really enjoyed working for Mr Hain and put my heart and soul into it. It was my first proper job. I worked up until nine o'clock at night in the run-up to the general election and I loved it. I was very upset to lose my job and I've found it very difficult to find other work. People just can't believe that I was made redundant by an MP and they think I've done something wrong. I'm glad I've won my case and it proves that even an MP has to treat his staff properly."

Mr Hain, 48, was not at the hearing in Cardiff, just 300 yards from his desk at the Welsh Office. He was on holiday.

Rachel Davies, the tribunal chairwoman, said: "It is unfortunate that Mr Hain is not present today to put his side of the case, but we have unanimously found that she was unfairly dismissed." Miss Easter was awarded compensation of £2,746 and £299 holiday pay.

The tribunal ruling is clearly an embarrassment to Mr Hain, who is responsible for the New Deal programme aimed at getting people into work in Wales. As an employment spokesman for the Labour Party before the election, he also claimed that "Labour would ensure there is both fairness and stability in every office and on every shop floor".  

Our opinion

BRITISH Member of Parliament Peter Hain is no friend of David Irving, having repeatedly endorsed statements against the writer by his lunatic left cronies and even signed the Early Day House of Commons motion in June 1989 condemning him for publishing the U.K. edition of The Leuchter Report which first highlighted the flaws in the "gas chamber" sites shown to tourists at Auschwitz, Poland.

Hain has had his share of troubles since fleeing South Africa where he dabbled in pro-ANC politics. Hilariously, he was once taken in by London police for questioning after a cashier in his home town of Putney, South-west London, wrongly identified him as the man who robbed her High Street bank branch. (Not even Hain would have been as stupid as robbing a bank in his own high street, however.)

He exudes stupidity at a more inhumane level: after the death of South African terrorist John Harris, who had planted a concealed bomb which exploded at five p.m. one day in 1963 in the main concourse of Johannesburg railroad station, maiming three-year old Cornelia Koekemoer for life, Hain spoke in a graveside eulogy of the "nobility" of his dead friend Harris.

Memo for newspaper editors: David Irving has no bomb-laying terrorists among his friends; has never been mistakenly accused of robbing a bank, and has never been sued by former staff members for wrongful dismissal.
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