Monday, October 28, 2013

Stop the victimisation of union activists


Saturday's protest at Queen Street McDonald's was instigated because McDonald's sacked a union delegate for whistleblowing.

In New Zealand we call it Utu, or "revenge"; the purge of delegates and prominent workers that we have come to expect after every successful union campaign.

Well, no more. This stops now.

Attacking and sacking union delegates for defending workers results in workers being left leaderless and defenseless against corporate victimisation. In the 1980's, corporate attacks on union delegates were systematic and remorseless. This meant that workers were unable to resist divisive individual contracts, resulting in the loss of benefits which took half a century to earn. Unions lost their spine, and all the poverty, inequality, crony capitalism and corporate terrorism that we have today is the result.

These attacks stop here. Socialist Aotearoa is calling for the creation of a new campaign to protect and defend workplace union delegates whenever or wherever they are attacked.

If, as has happened to Sean Baily, a union delegate is attacked for doing their job of defending workers for any reason short of criminal misconduct, there needs to be a massive and automatic response from all union members and supporters to protest the actions of management in that instance. Rallies and solidarity protests should be held at the place of work where the attack occurred. This massive, automatic response should become an "instant reflex" of the union movement, irrespective of which unions are involved or affected.

This call goes out to all unions, to all union delegates and to all union members and supporters. Our intention is nothing less than cultural change; to defend the right of workers to organise in workplaces, to defend workplace democracy, and to defend the right of workers to elect their own representatives.

We are additionally calling for the establishment of a new movement of union delegates, across all unions, across all industries, and across all borders, to provide support and coordination to stop the victimisation of union activists.

Please join us in defending union delegates everywhere, regardless of their union affiliation. Please support us by forwarding this call to everyone you know who can help.

-Linda, SA

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