-Somi Yun, Socialist Aotearoa Wellington
From making it easier for our bosses to fire us to making sick days that bit harder to have, it’s clear that National’s attacks on our rights at work pose a huge threat. But they also present us with an opportunity. The huge march in Auckland in May against mining in conservation land forced a back down, and showed that the Nats, whatever their popularity in the polls, are not unstoppable. A mass campaign against this new bill can make workers’ rights a political issue again, and could rally opposition to all the government’s attacks.
Unions are the largest group of voluntary organizations in the country: even after all the attacks of the last decades they’re still a mass force, and one to be reckoned with. And it is workers, when we’re organised and when we fight, who can stop attacks on our rights. We can hit the bosses where it hurts, in their profits.
That’s why the rallies the CTU have called next week are so important, and why we all need to be building them. In our workplaces, on the campuses, amongst our friends, family and whānau, we need to ensure that these rallies are as big as possible. They’re a fist step in getting this campaign going. On their own they won’t be enough, and we need to start talking about more rallies, marches, strikes and actions, but getting on the streets next Saturday is a vital first step.
Let’s get stories of how the current 90 day laws have been used (like this horrifying tale the CTU is publicizing) circulating and get the message out there. We know from Don Brash’s report – and from the climate of recession and cuts internationally – that this is just the first in whole series of cuts and attacks they’re dreaming about.
All of us need to be there: these laws will hurt all workers, whether you’re organised in a union or not. And a fightback on this can build confidence to fight on other fronts, too, so everyone who opposes the Nats’ anti-beneficiary; anti-worker, anti-environment agenda should be marching.Rally details:
Auckland: 1pm, Saturday 21st August, QE2 Square (bottom of Queen St, opposite Britomart)
Wellington : 1pm, Saturday 21st August, Civic Square
Christchurch : 1pm, Saturday 21st August, Cathedral Square
Dunedin: 11am, Sunday 22nd August, Assemble at Dental School, Great King Street March to rally at the Octagon
The campaign website is here.
Photo credit: John Darroch