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PM’s behaviour at café “completely unacceptable”

22 April 2015

PM’s behaviour at café “completely unacceptable”

The union representing café and restaurant workers is shocked by Prime Minister John Key’s behaviour towards a worker at an Auckland café, and is calling for all politicians and public figures to be role-models when they interact with hospitality workers.

An anonymous blog written by a worker at the café details a pattern of disrespect and inappropriate behaviour from Mr Key, who tugged on the worker’s ponytail multiple times on different occasions, starting during the election campaign last year.

Service and Food Workers Union hospitality organiser Chas Muir said that the behaviour was completely unacceptable, and that Key’s apology didn’t address the wider issue.

“Uninvited touching is never appropriate, and that’s the bottom line. People must be courteous and respectful towards each other, and the Prime Minister should be setting a stellar example – not invading people’s personal space and then trying to make a joke of it.

“The nature of his apology shows no understanding of why this behaviour is unacceptable, or the harm he has caused. He needs to do a lot more.”

Mr Muir said the reported incidents were particularly alarming because both the worker and Mr Key’s wife had made it clear to him that this was inappropriate, yet he continued to harass the worker.

“It disgusts me that our Prime Minister not only invaded this worker’s personal space, but continued to harass her after she had told him to stop.”

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Mr Muir said that hospitality workers were physically and verbally abused far too often, and more had to be done to change some people’s attitudes towards hospitality staff.

“This worker has bravely decided expose this behaviour. Whether it’s Key pulling someone’s hair, or Aaron Gilmore verbally abusing a waiter, it’s clear that some National Party MPs don’t know how to conduct themselves appropriately.”

He said that all workers had the right to feel safe and comfortable in the workplace.


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