Business Scoop

Mana Coach Services attempt to sue Tramways Union

Press Release – Wellington Tramways Union

Mana Coach Service are attempting to sue the Wellington Tramways Union for an article published in a union newsletter in mid 2009 (see the article below). Media Release:

Mana Coach Services attempt to sue Tramways Union

Mana Coach Service are attempting to sue the Wellington Tramways Union for an article published in a union newsletter in mid 2009 (see the article below).

Mana claim that the article breaches the terms of settlement of a confidential mediation at the Employment Relations Authority (ERA). However the Tramways Union believe the content of the article was already on the public record and not restricted by the confidentiality of ERA mediation.

The article relates to Mana Human Resources Manager Marau Russell trying to bully a driver into leaving the Tramways Union. The Tramways Union believe this has been common practice by management at Mana Coach Services.

The court case is being held:


Tuesday February 2nd, 2010

At the Employment Relations Authority

Cnr Panama St & Customhouse Quay
From the M & C Workers News (Journal of the Manufacturing & Construction Workers Union

Number 82, September 2009, Page 3

Mana Coach Services in anti Tramways Union unjustified dismissal claim

A bus driver at the Newlands depot sought support from the Tramways Union against Mana Coach Services when the company discriminated against her because she had joined the Tramways Union.

The union commenced proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority on the drivers behalf when they resigned her employment becaue of Mana Coach Service’s actions. The driver had started working for Mana Coach Services in January 2008. She decided to join the Tramways Union in October. When the company found out that this driver had joined the union the driver said that she was required to attend a meeting with Marau Russell, Mana Human Resources Manager. The driver said that he was angry because she had joined the Tramways Union. He wanted her to leave the Tramways Union and join another union, the Amalgamated Workers Union, if she wanted to be in any union. The company’s actions made the driver unwell and she couldn’t go to work for a couple of days. Then in January 2009 Marau Russell again asked the driver to resign from the Tramways Union and told her to go and see the union delegate of the Amalgamated Workers Union.

Have her guts

Again, later in January, Marau Russell met the driver and questioned her about why she belonged to the Tramways Union telling her to write a letter of resignation. He said the Tramways Union was “just trouble”. He said that the discussion he was having shouldn’t be taking place and if the driver mentioned his name then he would have her guts and kick her arse. The persistant Mr Russell made a further attempt in February to persuade the driver to leave the union. The continual badgering by the company about union membership caused the driver to be unfit for work for an extended period. As a result of this she resigned her employment in May 2009. The company refused to pay Brenda her final wages saying that her resignation has not been accepted. The application to the Employment Relations Authority sought payment of compensation, lost wages and holiday pay. The dispute between the driver and the company had one twist. Because the company had been so persistent in trying to get her to leave the union the driver had taped some of her meetings with Marau Russell. It was not just a simple case of her work against his. The driver brought copies of the tapes and transcripts into the union office to provide the basis for her claim. Prior to the matter being heard in the Authority mediation too place. The issue was settled in mediation on condidential terms that cannot be discussed. However, part of the settlement was an agreed joint public statement:


“This statement is made following the outcome of a personal grievance and other claims of discrimination against the company made by the Tramways Union and one of its members. The issues have been settled (the terms of which are confidential) and part of the settlement is that the company recognise the following in accordance with the Employment Relations Act 2000:
Union membership is a matter of individual choice and the employer may not breach the Act by unduly influencing which union an employee may belong to

The company commits to dealing fairly with all unions

The company commits to treating all staff fairly regardless of union membership.

The company will treat any similar issue seriously”


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