Monday, December 02, 2013
7pm Friday 6th December 2013
Unite Union, 6a Western Springs Road
organised by the Connolly Club of Auckland
A fearless, fiercely articulate Irish Republican firebrand, Bernadette Devlin became Britain’s youngest elected female MP at 21 in 1969. Her maiden speech was a stinging attack on the British in Ireland; and when Home Secretary Reginald Maudling claimed that the British army had fired in self-defence on Bloody Sunday she strode across the House of Commons and punched him. Veteran Irish producer Lelia Doolan, a significant mover and shaker herself, has worked for ten years to produce a rousing and thorough picture of this woman who was once recognisable throughout the Western world as the embodiment of politicised youth in revolt. She’s survived imprisonment, a near-miss assassination attempt and years of struggle within and on behalf of the Republican cause. She remains a committed activist and organiser. Doolan builds the film around her own interviews with an often wry, but enduringly passionate, Devlin. The wealth of archival footage should convince any newcomer to her remarkable story that she was once a riveting fixture on the nightly news and an unstoppable force for change.
Socialist Aotearoa's Joe Carolan talking about Bernadette, Free Derry the Civil Rights Movement and the Irish struggle on Bfm. http://www.95bfm.com/assets/sm/213872/3/joecbdevlin.mp3
by Dave Phillips, Socialist Wharfie
The past three years have been one of the worst industrial climates created by greed that many of us will ever see. The expectation of massive returns and a pathological hate of the trade union movement and anyone that dares to join a real union has seen any potential relationship destroyed.
Until the removal of those in the halls of power at the port that embraced and developed the culture of hate we now see in our port, the road to recovery will not commence because the wounds cut too deep. Those that chose to cross-over will never be forgiven and will always be remembered for all time in history for what they truly are, the scab.
There is a saying “to err is human and to forgive is divine” -normally I do forgive, but when the choices that these people made in an attempt to destroy the community by their self-serving actions there will be no forgiveness from me and nor should there be by any trade unionist.
The basis of any working relationship is a simple concept. Trust, confidence and at the top respect. Our members at the port have had all of these trampled on, yet the port company management insists that they operate by their imposed core values and that is where it becomes a lost cause because they don’t live by them none of the above apply. Sadly they must get some sycophantic pleasure out of the belief that this style of management works.
Moral corruption and discrimination against real union members is rife with nepotism being granted to the bootlickers allowing a consistent stream of offspring of the scab to be put in holding patterns to commit the ultimate industrial crime if called upon.
The building of common ground in the workplace begins the moment someone is employed. Trust is the first bond that normally occurs with the employee knowing they can believe in what is being delivered normally the terms and conditions. All the employee wants to know is that the contract entered into is going to be honoured. Confidence is the next step with the expectation that concerns are taken seriously and not undermined by management thugs. All the employee asks for is personal value. Respect is always the last because it has to be earned and not expected because of one’s station in life.
It’s been over 100 years since the 1913 Great Strike and 63 years since the 1951 lockout yet the expectation of the capitalist remains exactly the same, profit at the expense of conscience and greed before humanity. When will they learn that in this modern era working-class and the trade union movement are not going to sit idly by and allow the intimidation tactics to have the impact it would have earlier in the last century. The scab is a weak feral that has no intestinal fortitude and that is why it fits within the framework of anti-union anti-worker work-sites, they are content to have the relationship of a lap dog with their owners without any real value.
We the union are a stubborn lot and demand the best from our employer. We will have a voice, we will not always be satisfied but you will get the expertise you pay for and the productivity if you are honourable. We will never forgive your scabs because it is against every moral we stand for, so don’t have any expectation of that. Maybe one day we might forgive you but believe us when we say we will never forget, you will never have our respect.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Socialist Historian and Playwright Dean Parker tells Unite Union's 2013 National Conference about some of the working class men, women and childen who lived through the revolutionary moment of 1913 in New Zealand, one hundred years to the day after they clashed with the might of the State on the streets.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
There are now more people retiring than ever and less people working, so there are not enough people to pay taxes to cover the cost of the retirement pension. We are all living longer say the politicians... Yeah right... Who's living longer? The politicians? The capitalists? The lawyers? The lazy bastards who sit on their arses and do nothing are living longer; the people who have the money to pay for expensive surgery or drugs to keep them alive; those who are educated about healthy eating and lifestyle; those who have the time to swan about in saunas and gyms and health spas may be living longer.
If you look at life expectancy for various groups, in particular manual workers, Pacific Island workers, Maori workers, you will find that even though these people pay most of the taxes in this country, they seldom live long enough to collect the pension. Meanwhile their peers in the middle to upper class, mainly salaried professionals, or the real bludgers – politicians and wealthy people who live off their capital – do little or no productive work and pay little or no tax and are the ones who live longer and end up in expensive nursing homes going on into their nineties, half of them gaga but still claiming the pension and bludging off the state health system that they did nothing to contribute to in the first place. The staff looking after them are paid a wage they can't even live on.
When John Key got into power the first thing he did was to give huge tax cuts to the rich, and so now it's a bit rich saying that we can't afford for workers to retire. In 1984 the top tax rate was 66 cents in the dollar; now it is 33 and we cant afford for workers to retire. They quote the statistics comparing people working to those retired and say we can't afford for workers to retire.
We have 7% unempoyment – throw that into the mix and the statistics don't look so convincing, then think about the people who are under-employed and see how that effects the statistics; then there are all those who work hard in the most important jobs such as being mothers or working for charities and think how it would be if they were being paid, paying taxes and featuring in the statistics, and see how that affects them. Then there are all those who are criminalised by our increasingly punitive society and who have to be housed in prisons at the expense of the taxpayer instead of being productive workers and taxpayers themselves. And the list goes on.
If you look at it on an international scale, you will see that hundreds of millions of people are unemployed and denied the right to participate in society. They would jump at the chance to work and pay taxes. I could go on all night ABOUT THE WAY THIS NEOLIBERAL CAPITALIST system is flawed and corrupt from top to bottom, but at the end of the day what it is really about is exploiting the workers all their lives and then ringing the last drop of blood out of them before they are thrown on the scrap heap.
Forcing people to work longer means there are fewer jobs for school leavers and university graduates. It means there is more competition among workers, which forces wages down. Labour announced at the last election its policy to raise the retirement age to 67 over a gradual period. The National government has reintroduced a lower youth wage, which actually squeezes out older workers and does nothing to help the young ones. Now estimates are being quoted that by the year 2050, 25% of New Zealanders will be over 65 (compared with 13.6% estimated in 2012). That difference could be made up by the numbers currently unemployed, under-employed and doing unpaid work. The rest could be covered by reinstating a more progressive tax system. The Labour Party should be representing workers, not the employers who benefit from worker competition.
Under the guise of 'responsible government', the Labour Party, who were responsible for the tax cuts in the 1980s, are trying to pander to the notion that there's not enough money to go around and therefore everyone must sacrifice equally. This is nonsense: there is enough money to go around if we stop giving the highest earners a free ride; everyone does not bear the burden equally (many of the lowest paid workers don't live to see retirement age); and there is nothing responsible about it. Productivity has increased a hundred fold over the last century, which should translate into more leisure time for workers and universal access to essential services. The real picture is upside-down.
As a manual worker myself, I am nearly 60 – the age at which people retired when I entered the workforce. Basically my body is worn out, my shoulders are fucked, my knees are fucked, my brain and nervous system are malfunctioning due to exposure to solvents in the workplace, and the government is saying I have to keep working, and if I cant do the work I am trained for and experienced in, I am expected to do some other unskilled job that wont even pay a living wage.
We need to fight Labour and National's attempts to screw down workers, young and old.
-Doug R., SA
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Modern society is plagued with workplace pressures unseen for many a year. The craving of wealth by the few at the expense of many comes at a huge cost to the average family. Capitalist greed and the inbred need to have a class system is out of control but consistently gets fed by legislation with laws that introduce work climates unseen since the early nineteen hundreds.
The average worker in this country should be paid a living wage but instead is working in excess of 60 hours a week simply to make ends meet because they are on minimum wage with no additional payments for extra effort. The ability to run a household on such an income is next to impossible because the cost of living out strips the money coming in. Wouldn’t it be an eye-opener to put our politicians on minimum wage just to see how quickly things would change?
Rights at work are being eroded by a government and a Labour spokesman who has no conscience and no real understanding of what it takes to survive in the real world. Bridges “The Tauranga Pup” is fixated on two words, flexibility and fairness and basically doesn’t give a toss or more likely doesn’t comprehend the impact or consequence of the law changes he is promoting and will push through. The attitude towards workers in this country by the National Government is summed up by Tau Henare’s statement on television when asked about the plight of the government cleaners. “If she doesn’t want the job, she should give it to someone else”.
The 8 hour day, the 40 hour working week, the weekend, annual leave, worker’s rights and safety in most quarters of the capitalist ideology are a thing of the past and irrelevant because they assume it stagnates the ability to accumulate wealth. These are union won conditions for all society to enjoy and should be protected at all costs. Too often we see large companies pushing the barrow of wealth; they call it productivity.
Increasingly at negotiations employers put forward claims for unfair hours of work so they have the right to impose and determine when employees work, none of which are recognised or rewarded with appropriate payments. Work-life balance in their mind is a myth and should be purely the domain of those that can afford it.
In New Zealand, apathy and the “she’ll be right mate” mentality is responsible for the position we find ourselves in. Kiwi would rather watch a bloody boat sail around in a foreign country manned by rich pricks than stand up and fight for fairness and decency. We hear every day the stories of poverty, starving children and people struggling to put a roof over the heads of their families. You would think in a modern western styled society none of the above would exist, sadly it is growing and until working-class stand-up make a stand and bring capitalism to heel there will be no balance in our society.
The union movement is changing to gain the required skillset to take on global corporates and right-wing governments at their own game when it comes to the preservation of workers’ rights. When your union calls on you to become part of any struggle that protects the working-class, take the time to look in the mirror and ask yourself am I doing my bit?
Don’t let the apathy I alluded to earlier be the driving factor you didn’t get involved. It is too easy to allow others to fight and win the gains. Don’t ride off the back of struggle enjoying the benefits you don’t deserve, be a part of the outcome.
This is where the presence of well-resourced militant unions comes into play. Organising, education and promoting activism to protect what belongs to us is a key to any future balance. Capitalism has a firm hold in modern society and is changing the world to suit the need to feed the greed.
This year celebrates the 100th year since the Great Strike of 1913 where 16000 workers took to the streets of New Zealand to fight for fairness and dignity. These weren’t workers backed by well-resourced unions but miners, water-siders and seafarers led by a small group termed agitators who were eventually defeated after almost bringing New Zealand to the brink of civil war.
Attacked by Police and the volunteer Massey’s Cossacks on horse-back, they fought heated battles on the streets. They faced machine gun postings and naval war ships. These were working men with a just cause but lacked leadership hence the uprising failed. Even in 1913 the capitalist knew he had a means to undermine workers for a few silver dollars, it’s the tools they continue to use today, the scab and propaganda. Even though it was lost we need to take a leaf out of the book of our forebears and fight for our rights even if it be by means of hard protest.
Contemplate the lot of the individual who attempts to go one on one with his or her employer. Worksites that don’t have union coverage are at the will of the employer. Fire at will with no rules of fairness and very limited work-place rights. Union presence is vital and a reliable defence in opposing government and capitalism . Globally unions are setting standards for all society and will always remain fundamentally opposed to the oppressive ideology of the greedy corporates.
by Dave Phillips, socialist and MUNZ Activist
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Many people have been rightly horrified by the news that has come out in the past week of young girls being raped and the failure by authorities to act to prevent further harm. Particularly disgusting has been the police response, beginning by blaming survivors for not coming forward, then, under pressure, finally revealing that they had received complaints two years ago, but still had not laid charges.
It is both right and heartening that people are appalled, but we should not be taken in by the fake outrage of those in power. This National government has made huge cuts to services for survivors of rape including making it harder to access counselling from ACC, failing to properly implement the recommendations of the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence, and refusing to ensure that rape prevention and rape crisis services receive sufficient funding. The government has also failed to fix the problems with sexuality education in our schools identified in a 2007 report by the Education Review Office.
We should also not be surprised that the police will not protect women by enforcing sexual assault laws. Slow progress has been made the recommendations of the Bazely report, also from 2007, and the police seem to have learned little from the Louise Nicholas case, despite her and other campaigners’ tireless work. The police do not seem to understand the basic law that says in New Zealand it is an offence to have a sexual connection with a person under the age of 16.
People working in the area of sexual violence know that the failure to prosecute perpetrators is not new. It is estimated that only one in every hundred sexual offences result in a successful prosecution. Police claim today to be ‘the good guys’, yet they have failed to safeguard young women from this gang’s activities for the past two years, failed to act on complaints, and failed to create an environment where more young women felt supported enough to come forward in the belief they would protected. What is important about the current debate is that it exposes the contradictions in our society, the reality of the oppression that women face, and the way capitalism distorts all of our relationships, including our sexuality.
The majority of men are not rapists, and most people rightly condemn sexual violence. Yet we are all adversely affected by capitalism. Young women are pushed into becoming sexualised from an early age. We are constantly bombarded with media and advertising that tells us how we should look, how we should dress, and how we should conduct our relationships. Young men are taught to treat sexual relationships as conquests to be bragged about. Sexuality is subverted and sold back to us packaged up as liberation when in fact it actually limits our ability to learn about and express our true desires.
Tamihere and Jackson have sickeningly demonstrated another contradiction in society’s attitudes – where women are blamed for the sexual violence perpetrated against them. This graphic shows succinctly my response – there is no justification for rape.
Vigilante action against individuals is not the solution. We need to work with the widest possible number of people to build a campaign that calls for the following demands:
• The police do their job properly and protect women from violence
• The government properly funds sexuality education, rape prevention education, and support services for survivors, and re-establish the sexual violence action taskforce with proper resources to implement the recommendations made in 2009.
• Immediate action in schools across Auckland and the rest of New Zealand: counsellors, rape prevention education, sexuality education, relationship training, and properly funded support for anyone involved to come forward.
- Mary Hill, SA