Showing posts from July, 2010

Commentary- We need a fighting union movement

Commentary- Joe Carolan Over one hundred delegates, organisers and activists in Auckland's union movement gathered on Wednesday 28th July at UNite on Campus's Fightback Rally, to plan a response to the National Party government's proposed attacks on workers and unions. A triumvirate of private sector unions- EPMU, NDU and Unite, pledged that there would be direct action and a militant fightback on the worksites and on the streets of the city in months to come. Unions would be joined in this campaign by community groups, left wing parties and organisations for the unemployed. The answer to low wages and attacks on union organisation is not to appeal to the Government for partnership. The answer is to recruit thousands of un-unionised workers into the movement before these law changes come in. The answer is to make sure any site where a worker is unjustly dismissed using the 90 Day Law is blockaded, picketed and occupied. 60 activists have already signed up for the first

Commentary- New Zealand needs an Australian style award system

Unionists rally during an Easter 2009 lockout of Auckland market researchers getting paid about half of what the company Synovate was paying its Australian market researchers. COMMENTARY- Omar Hamed, Socialist Aotearoa (Wellington) Closing the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia was a key plank of National’s election campaign in 2008 . The problem for John Key however is that under his management the Tasman wage gap has grown significantly. Getting grilled by 3News Key went on the attack blaming Labour for the recession and the wage gap and claiming he had a “plan”. The facts are unmistakeably obvious – under the Nat’s the gap between the New Zealand and Australian average wage grew from “$540 a week in December 2008 to $580 in March this year”. In the courts , on the picket lines and in Parliament this week the calls to close the gap have again been heard. Yet absent however from all the debate about the widening pay gap is one key word: awards. The main diffe


The National Party government has announced major attacks on workers rights and on Unions ability to represent them. Any worker can now be fired in the first 90 Days of employment without reason. A worker must now be able to provide official proof if they are sick for one day off work. Union organisers will not be able to visit unionised sites without the premission of employers. Minister for Employment Kate Wilkinson said sh ... e wants to return more "control" to the employer. This coming Wednesday, there will be a major rally in Auckland University to launch a campaign of resistance against these cuts. Matt McCarten, General Secretary of Unite, will be joined by Sue Bradford- fighter for the rights of the unemployed, Karl Andersen, Assistant General Secretary of the NDU, and Chris Trotter- Political Commentator and author of No Left Turn. The rally will bring together union delegates and members, Left wing activists and students, and will plan a series of

Commentary: This means Class War!

This is the text of a speech given by Socialist Aotearoa activist Derwin Smith in Dunedin last week. There can be no mistake - the laws being proposed by the government are the biggest attack on working people in 20 years. The last time something like this happened was in 1991 with the Employment Contracts Act. The Unions at the time didn’t fight... and it has put us in the position we are in today – with weak unions, massive inequality, poverty, social isolation and a general feeling of apathy among the working class. Sadly this time round may not be all that different – the complete lack of militant leadership of the CTU will hinder us at every turn. There is no doubt that they will try to convert this campaign into an electioneering exercise for the labour party. However this government is not untouchable! The anti-mining campaign has shown us that concerted campaigning including massive street protests can make the national party back off. As revolutionaries we must be very cle

The Locals: Public transport in Auckland

In the first part of our series on local body elections we took a look at housing, libraries and water issues. In this second part of our season on the haunted house of local governance we turn the spotlight on another important issue - public transport. The only place you’ll find more out of control cars than Kiwi horror The Locals are the streets of the nation’s largest metropolitan centre- Auckland. Local government politicians are like McDonald’s advertisements, both profess to promote healthy alternatives but in reality all they do is clog up arteries and arterial routes. Big business have done all they can to ensure that Auckland has a public transport that is ridiculed across the world. Visiting Canadian economist Jim Stanford would write in one of his county's major papers a column that deserves wide republishing around Aotearoa, City planners impose various pseudo-quantitative performance indicators on the contractors, such as sophisticated GPS systems to monitor on-tim

Our future best and brightest or New Zealand's version of Hitler Youth?

Watch the full Maori TV feature on the Young Nats or the short Youtube clip and then decide! hat tip:

Kopu Bridge - A bridge too far for Key's mining ambitions

"Is this the kind of tyre kicking John had in mind?" Let it be remembered that once again Coromandel Watchdog have stopped the mining trucks in their tracks. The battle began in August 2009 with the Government's announcement of a stocktake of the resources under conservation land and ended with the humiliating Tuesday surrender as "Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee .. confirmed the Government's complete retreat from proposals to allow mineral exploration on 7068ha of protected conservation land on Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Peninsula, and Paparoa National Park, because of strong public opposition." The 11 month struggle over some of New Zealand's most iconic conservation land was undoubtedly a victory for people power. Coromandel Watchdog society spokesperson Denis Tegg said , "Twice now we have squared off with not only the government, but also the powerful mining industry lobby and have won both times. Over 3,500 subm

Will unions betray the fellowship at the "War Council"

When the National Affiliates Council of the Council of Trade Unions gathers in Auckland on Thursday some hard choices must be made. The Herald is reporting the gathering as a 'war council' and certainly many affiliates, especially private sector unions like Unite and the EPMU will push for a bold response to these latest attacks. Most readers of this blog will be familiar with war councils from the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy when Frodo, the small but brave hobbit volunteers at the Council of Elrond in Rivendell to take the ring to Mt. Doom and throw it into the fire. He and the hobbits can't do it themselves though, they need the strength and protection of the dwarf Gimli, the elf Legolas, Boromir and the warrior king Aragorn. In the end the fellowship of nine is completed, led by the wise Gandalf. On Thursday the unions will meet and the big public sector unions and some of the more conservative Labour Party affiliated blue-collar unions wil

Where now for Labour and the CTU? Commentary- Sue Bradford

from Pundit website Doing the time warp with National – can the Left do better this time round? by Sue Bradford In the face of National's employment law and welfare reforms, how will Labour and the unions respond? Yesterday John Key used the National Party's annual conference to announce drastic changes to employment law. It was a real time warp moment for me. While inside the conference Mr Key blandly assured delegates that workers will only benefit from the extension of the 90 day trial, the removal of the right to union access and the gutting of personal grievance processes, outside hundreds of unionists mounted a staunch protest aimed at showing National these reforms won’t be taken lying down. A sunny Sunday morning on the protest line outside (and temporarily inside) Sky City took me straight back to 19 December 1990, when the new Minister of Finance, one Ruth Richardson, announced her plans to cut benefits and bring in legislation to

THE NATS ARE RATS- why we fought back!

A short film by Socialist Aotearoa's Billy Hania captures some of the anger and passion behind the clashes outside the National Party's Conference, as John Key announces drastic attacks on workers rights in Aotearoa.

The Battle of Sky City- Photos and video from the barricades

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR . Thanks to Rory Gatfield for his Flickr photographs above. John Darroch's superb photographs HERE 3News headline news HERE 3News background- Angry Protestors Hunt John Key HERE One News headline news HERE One News background HERE NZ Herald- Protest 'First Shot' in fight over changes HERE Chris Trotter- Defeat is not an Option HERE Much respect- One Man Hikoi ;) Tino flag flies on the front line! Video HERE Daphna Whitmore from the Workers' Party has written a report from today's action , At the rally today a Dairy Worker’s Union representative said they’d be taking the fight to the workplace and be calling on workers to strike to defend fellow workers sacked in the 90 day period. One action like that would be worth a thousand mediations.

Socialist Aotearoa and unionists bust in to the Party

Socialist Aotearoa activists, anarchists and unionists led an audacious gatecrash of the Tory Party conference. The Police quickly repelled this attack with punching and kicking, but not before the Tory's were locked into their own conference as Key smugly outlined the new attacks on working people. Well done to all those comrades who took the struggle to the enemy's gates this morning. But there was around 500 protestors outside, where were they all when Sue Bradford was going all 1990s Asian Development Bank protest-style and charging through the lines? If all 500 had tried to take the doors there would have been no probs breaking through. Instead the hard core was isolated and outmanouvered by thick lines of the constabulary. "Eat your pork, drink your wine. Your days are numbered Tory swine!" Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR . Check out John Darroch's photos here .

Anticapitalist July 18 - Nats are Rats, struggles against the ECA and more

Latest issue of Anti-capitalist. About 200 of these were dished out at the protests this morning against the National Party conference. Download the PDF below for articles on a history of unions and the Employment Contracts Act, the need for a rank and file network and Where is John Key taking New Zealand? . Print them out and dish them around! Reports have it that the section on the rank'n'file network is inspiring a bit of creative thinking amongst the union movement in Auckland. Keep an eye on as we follow up our anti-capitalist, with more detailed articles on the union movement, rank and file networks and the need for a working class fightback. Download PDF Anticapitalist July 18 Update: Just for the record and to spare the confusion, 'They are rich because we are poor' is from LibCom's excellent Intro to Lib Communism .

We got to Sky City about ten in the morning...

During the '80's Maggie Thatcher led the ruling class in Britain on a ruthless warpath against working people, attacking social welfare, trade unions and worker's rights. She famously declared, "There is no such thing as society". During the poll tax struggle, the 84-85 Miners' strike, the Irish republican struggle and in other social struggles Thatcher and the British ruling class encountered stiff resistance. Britain's notorious anarchist group Class War and their most infamous comrade Ian Bone were at the heart of this resistance. We post up this video to give heart & inspiration to the workers and students who will take the fight to the class enemy tomorrow morning. Make no mistake- this is class war.


Date: Sunday, 18 July 2010 Time: 10:00 - 13:00 Location: Sky City Hotel, Auckland CBD Join facebook event discussion group HERE The National Party will announce drastic attacks on workers rights, seeking to curtail Unions rights to Bargain, access greenfield sites, access existing sites, slash education and training leave, and cut back on Holidays. Unions will vigourously resist these attacks from the outset. If National are declaring war on workers, they should prepare for Resistance. The Battle starts this Sunday. 10am. Sky City Hotel. Stand up for Workers Rights. Info coming in- (a) Right to Access severely curtailed on unionised sites. No access on Greenfield sites. (b) EREL Education and Training Leave for Delegates and Members to be abolished. (c) 90 Days Fire at Will Law to be extended to all workplaces. (d) Holdiays Act to be changed- fourth weeks holiday to be sold (e) Bargaining Agents can take the place of Unions in Collective Contract Negotiations- givin

The Locals: a guide to the horror story of Council politics in Aotearoa

Some people might remember the 2003 homegrown horror The Locals . It’s about a couple of guys, Paul and Grant, who head cross-country on their way to a weekend of boozing and surfing. However as they head through heartland Aotearoa they run into ‘the locals’, a grim assortment of lost souls who inhabit a kind of half-way place between death and life. As their journey into the netherworld unfolds, with Grant and Paul chasing a couple of girls from the 80s they begin to witness a series of horrible scenes of murder and mayhem. It’s a pretty cool film if you ask me, a kind of coming of age/road trip/horror tale built around events that many a young New Zealander can identify with - car crashes, broken hearts and random violence. It’s also a pretty fitting metaphor for young people discovering the state of local body politics in this country. City councils and regional authorities seem to have become populated by the undead and the unhinged. 1980s style neo-liberalism rules ok in the Town

SW: the story of the British soldier jailed for turning against the Iraq war

Ross Williams for Socialist Worker Ross Williams is 22 and from Neath in South Wales. He joined the army in 2007 and was sent to Iraq in 2008. Ross went absent without leave (Awol) for one and a half years and was sentenced to nine months in Colchester military prison. He was released last week and spoke to Si├ón Ruddick. “I think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are wrong. These wars are illegal and we shouldn’t be out there,” says Ross. “The people at the top are risking the lives of others when we shouldn’t even be there. “Troops are coming back destroyed and devastated. The military and the government just use people up. “Soldiers’ careers and lives are ruined by what they have seen and what they’ve been put through. Recruit “I joined the army because there is nothing here in Neath, no jobs and no future.” “It seemed like a very tempting offer. I went down to the careers office and they sold me the world. But it was a load of bollocks. “In the recruitment office, they get

Song for the Free Gaza Flotilla

2,000 tonnes of food and medicine are aboard a Greek ship currently heading to the waters off Gaza to break the blockade. Israel's massacre on the Mavi Mamara hasn't dimmed the spirits of those fighting Israel's brutal occupation and seige of Palestine, as activists across the world join forces to encircle the apartheid regime. Just last week an English jury gave a verdict of not-guilty to activists who "decommissioned" a weapons factory in Brighton, On 16 January 2009, in the midst of Israel's relentless bombing of Gaza, six of the defendants broke into the premises of EDO MBM, a supplier of weapons components. According to one of the defendants, Elijah Smith, they "set out to smash it up to the best of our abilities." Two activists who supported them outside the factory gates were also put on trial for "conspiracy to cause criminal damage" In the United States 1,000 people blockaded an Israeli ship for 24hours in Oakland port while doc

Thailand: Next move Insurrection?

Sunday, July 11, 2010 By Lee Yu Kyung at Green Left Weekly Thai army troops confront Red Shirt protesters in Bangkok on April 10. Despite non-stop talk of ‘reconciliation’ by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva, his regime has continued to persecute his critics. Photo: Lee Yu Kyung On July 6, the Thai government approved the extension of an emergency decree in 19 provinces, which including many in the heartland of the pro-democracy Red Shirts in the country’s north-east. The extension came a day after the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended the government immediately lift the decree and hold fresh elections. But Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva, who came to power through the army’s intervention, crushed hopes for new elections weeks ago. There have been tireless efforts t

2010 the warmest year on record - Welcome to the future

Last year was the second warmest on record, and this year could be the planet's hottest, according to a forecast from the [Australian] Bureau of Meteorology, which says uncharacteristically warm conditions are being felt across the northern hemisphere. ABC Online Sure, it seems pretty cold right now in New Zealand, but as Britain is engulfed in a heat wave we should consider the fact that if we fail to deal with climate change, “Australian scientists have warned half the planet could "simply become too hot" for human habitation by the year 2300.” So in three hundred years half the planet will have been written off because of humanity’s need to drive luxury 4WDs and holiday on the other side of the world and failure to invest in renewable energies and transition to a low carbon economy. Even today Pacific Islands are being flooded by rising sea levels. The International Film Festival will feature Briar March’s documentary about the rising tide t