Victimised unionist garners support
By Melanie Sjoberg
SYDNEY — Organising Works trainee John Gauci has received messages of support since Green Left Weekly revealed a decision by his union to suspend its sponsorship of him.
The NSW branch of the Community and Public Sector Union had ended his employment after learning that Gauci was a member of the Democratic Socialist Party and had put his name to a DSP statement condemning underhanded tactics in the union's elections.
Delegates from the NSW office of the Australian Bureau of Statistics unanimously endorsed a motion on November 18 which supported Gauci and condemned the CPSU for its action. Their vote came despite NSW branch secretary Mal Larsen's attendance at the meeting to present his side of the story.
The ABS section council affirmed its belief that Gauci had always acted in an enthusiastic and professional manner and had demonstrated commitment and loyalty to the union. The council endorsed the right of all union members to maintain political views without fear of discrimination.
The delegates rejected the allegations of "political disloyalty", condemned Larsen for his action and called on him to apologise.
"It is heartening that union members are serious about democracy. Unionists should have the right to belong to a political party other than the ALP", Gauci told Green Left Weekly.
"Members and delegates do need to hold the CPSU officials accountable for what is really discrimination. Taking such a stand is the only way we can hope for a more effective, unified trade union movement."
On November 25, the annual general meeting of the CPSU's ACT branch suspended standing orders to hear a report on the "suspension" of John Gauci from the NSW CPSU. A motion was passed condemning the action and calling for an apology.
Messages of support or copies of motions passed in your workplace can be sent to Gauci at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.