Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Defend our work rights - We are winning

On October 20th many thousands of unionists will take to the streets to defend employment laws from attack.

The Nat's plan to allow unfair dismissals during a 90 day "fire at will" no rights period, cut sick leave, remove the right to union access and chop up other work rights has been met by a furious response from the unions and the left.

As we hit the streets let's remember,

  • 80% of New Zealanders don't support employment law allowing unfair dismissal
  • The first 90 day case to go to the Employment Authority was won by the CTU.
  • The high profile Unite response to Burger Fuel sacking Joanne on her 89th day ended in compensation being paid and Burger Fuel agreeing not to use the 90 day clause.
  • Thousands of unionists and workers have already taken to the streets on August 21 in the four main centres to oppose these law changes.
  • Support for the National-Act coalition has dropped from 57%, just after the National Party conference when it announced these law changes, to 52.5%, the smallest lead since the election. Compared to this time last year, 10.5% less New Zealanders think the country is heading in the right direction.
  • Unions continue to surge in membership numbers as workers prepare for the coming storm. Unite has recorded a 10% jump in membership in the last 4 months. Unite is expecting dozens of workers to attend the rally in Wellington tomorrow, coming from Upper Hutt, Porirua, Johnsonville, Newtown and across Wellington.
  • For these workers, and many of us under 30 this will be the first time in our lifetimes that we have seen action that unites the entire union movement across the country. These are the biggest mobilisations of workers since the struggle against the ECA in 1991.
  • More and more workers are tackling their employers over low wages. Teachers, doctors and other public sector workers are engaged in industrial action. Strikes, pickets, blockades across the country. Mill workers in Whakatane, freezing workers in Wairoa, port workers in Auckland, recycling workers in Takanini, miners in the Waihi pit, linesmen in the Waikato, retail workers in Wellington all fighting the fight.

What does this all point to? These are the dying days of John Key's "brighter future". Unions are winning. The left is winning. We are winning.

The need now is to keep the pressure on. After October 20 we need to maintain the rage. We'll have to stay in the streets, stay in the headlines and stay in the workplaces.

Across all of Europe the spectre of socialism is rising again. The elite cannot offer a solution to the current crisis. The socialist alternatives to the current crisis are becoming increasingly popular and offer a way forward in the struggle.

As Alex Callinicos of King's College, London, has written, "Not paying the debt, nationalising the banks, introducing capital controls, programmes of public investment—all these are necessary in order to address the needs of the vast majority in economies wrecked by speculation and slump. But implementing them would involve a massive confrontation with the existing structures of economic and political power. It therefore points towards, not a reconstruction of capitalism, but a move beyond it."

In Aotearoa we now have 255,000 jobless and 37,600 long term unemployed. The Government will borrow a billion a year to provide tax cuts that will mostly go to the rich. 42% of the value of the tax cuts will go to the richest 10% of New Zealanders.

At the same time the Nats make cuts to home help for the elderly, support for the intellectually disabled, funding for early childhood and introduce worktesting for people with serious disabilities.

If you're not outraged you're not paying attention.Together we are strong and together we can defeat these attacks. Get organised now and maintain the resistance.

Enjoy October 20 and remember - We are winning!

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