The GMB union has accused the boss of an IT company of threatening staff after sending an email to employees telling them to vote Conservative in the general election.
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The email, sent by Storm Technologies managing director John Brooker on the day of the election, told staff that Labour voters would be “made redundant first”.
Brooker said in the email – leaked to the GMB – that he hoped employees would exercise their right to “elect your chosen candidate party”, but went on to say: “Vote Conservative if you believe in free enterprise and progression without being taxed out of the game.”
The email 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 onto your hard-earned money, vote Conservative.”
It added that “Corbyn will be a nightmare” and that “Labour voters will be made redundant first if Labour do win and things slow down”.
The GMB, which has seen the email, said it was unacceptable. However, Brooker has defended the message, saying it was “simply banter”.
Warren Kenny, the union’s London region secretary, said: “A boss should not be harassing employees or interfering with their right to vote for who they wish – it’s Dickensian, workhouse nonsense. Any staff working for John Brooker should be able to vote for their candidate or party of choice without fear for their jobs and their livelihoods.”
Storm Technologies is a listed supplier on the Crown Commercial Service’s technology products and services framework.
Brooker’s email added that Corbyn “resents those making good money, wants to hike corporation tax up by 7% immediately, hike higher-rate taxpayers by another 5%, bring far more people into the 40% tax bracket (and there are a lot of you here at Storm), borrow billions, which at some point has to be paid back and will generally send us backwards”.
Brooker signed off by saying he was just sharing his personal thoughts and added: “Feel free to vote for whoever you want.”
Commenting on the email, Brooker told The Independent newspaper that the email was “nothing more than internal banter” that had been taken out of context.
“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,” he said.
“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.”