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Showing posts from 2018

Trade Unionists Support Our Teachers

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Can We Afford to Pay Teachers and Nurses?This year has seen a remarkable upsurge in workers' struggle.  Union members, largely but not exclusively in the public service, are demonstrating loud and clear that they are sick and tired of decades of low wages and precarious conditions, especially with the cost of housing so toweringly high these days.  The level of inequality between ordinary workers and our bosses and landlords has become utterly unsustainable — tens of thousands of people are not prepared to tolerate this anymore.
We have heard, more and more as these workplace disputes have escalated, cries from the government that the pay claims workers — especially primary teachers and nurses — are making are impossible to pay for.  This is not true. The much deserved pay rises demanded by teachers, nurses, and other public sector workers could be paid for, with billions of dollars still to spare, through:
Spending just a portion of the $5.5 billion surplus the government recorded…

Where’s the Justice? MoJ Workers Fight For a Fair Deal

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Staff at the Ministry of Justice have been amongst the tens of thousands of workers who have gone on strike this year. Read a report on the struggle so far, and what is coming next, as PSA members demand justice.






MOJ members on strike in front of Christchurch District Court. Photo credit: PSA Often when we talk about workers’ struggle, people think about physical labour — miners, factory workers, dock workers, hospitality or customer service, or jobs which are known to be difficult, such as teaching and nursing. Workers in the public service — especially in a place like the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) — are entirely different. I believe there are a couple of key reasons for that: The MoJ is seen as a necessary evilEven if you have absolutely no criticism of the current justice system, having contact with the courts is rarely, if ever, something people want to do. That being said, everybody understands that having workers dedicated to administering justice is required for a fair society. Peo…

Democracy For Sale

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Many adjectives have been used this week for the unfolding saga between Simon Bridges and Jamie Lee Ross in the National Party – racist, ugly, disgraceful, corrupt, jihadi Jami……..

One Chinese, two Indians, a Filipino etc. etc. This kind of talk grossly offends me as a human being first and foremost, then I feel insulted as an Indian and finally I’m outraged as a resident and a taxpayer in Aotearoa paying fat salaries to money making thugs in the guise of public servants! But I’m not surprised at all as a Socialist.

The National Party is at present in opposition but their core philosophy remains unchanged; a core philosophy that obviously views people as votes and dollars instead of hard working citizens who create the dollars for them through their labour. Therefore, whether in government or not, the political parties of a profiteering capitalist system are always the ruling class. As described by Karl Marx, the ruling class is like a “band of warring brothers” in constant competiti…

Class Wars... Teachers Strike Back.

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Strike Wave Continues

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On a cold and windy day primary school teachers and principals hold a day of strike all over New Zealand.
It was one of the biggest marches on Auckland's Queen Street. Some say 7000, others say 10,000 teachers marched. Aotea Square was overflowing with people willing to stand up and fight back for their rights.
Over whelming support for the teachers from a broad spectrum of New Zealandrs is a positive sign too.
Recently we have seen the nurses, bus drivers, IRD staff and many private sector workers fight for their work rights.
Something is in the air, people will have various labels for this something, I have my own.
Amidst the workers of Aotearoa uniting and rising, someone tells me that Socialists must be driven out of trade unions. How bizarre!!
Unions without a Socialist backbone are like a human being without oxygen.
More importantly, how do you stop the kind of Socialism we have recently seen among striking workers of Aotearoa?

Kua tae te waa Anu SA

A wake up call: the Far Right in Aotearoa

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Today around 80 supporters of the far right gathered in Aotea Square brandishing placards in support of Tommy Robinson. Robinson is a former member of the fascist British National Party, and founded the English Defence League. He and his cronies are committed to fighting the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe. Robinson is currently in jail for contempt of court. When I turned up at the rally to join a counter-protest, I felt sick to the stomach to hear these people talking about ‘free speech’, and then proceeding to hand out leaflets and tell passers-by to educate themselves about the threat of Islam. Make no mistake, Robinson and his ilk – though some of the supporters at the rally may indeed have been hoodwinked into thinking they were defending the right to non-violent freedom of expression – are toxic, racist andtheir ‘freedom of speech’ is in fact hate speech. They want the ‘freedom’ to label Islam a ‘rape culture’ – yes, that is what they were saying today – to pose Muslims as the great …

A Perilous Position

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The members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation working at the country's public hospitals and DHB provided services are in a perilous position since the union's leaders abruptly cancelled one of the two strike days last week. The strike which should have taken place tomorrow, was cancelled last week after the union leaders said it had received a better offer. The union sat on the offer for the weekend before revealing it to be much the same as the previous offer. There was no increase to the percentage of 3% offered as an annual increase, and there was still no backpay but instead a lump sum of $2000 for full time nurses, and proportionally less for part time nurses. The ultimate solution to the short staffing plaguing the hospitals was the same funding of another 500 nurse vacancies for hospital wards only (not DHB funded community nurses or clinics). According to the Nightingales for Fair Pay spokesperson Danni Wilkinson, this amounted to less than 10% of a nurse per war…

The Rank and File mobilize time to listen to the workers.

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The nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants have been on a what is now turning out to be a long and windy road to getting their work rights. Long and windy to the detriment of the workers as the first of two 24-hour strikes gets called off by the union bosses under the guise of a newly negotiated deal. But highly advantageous for the union bureaucrats and the government that is all about budget responsibilities and running budget surpluses.





Throughout this struggle the small minority of well-paid bureaucrats have been dominating negotiations with little regard for the needs of the health sector workers who pay them. The Union is the workers and the bureaucrats they pay are not working for them. The health sector has been neglected by subsequent capitalist governments. The backroom deals favoured by the bureaucrats are not in the interests of the workers who are the union. The bureaucrats must step aside and let the union exercise their labour rights and speak the only language the …

Solidarity With All Immigrants.

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Just as you don’t have to be Palestinian to understand the brutality of Israeli policy in Gaza and the West Bank, or gay to feel the horror the cleansing in Chechnya, so you don’t have to be a parent to be outraged at what is happening on the US border. But it helps.In the past week the second of my daughters left home, albeit temporarily. She is 19 and going to live with family overseas, and still I cried. So it’s unfathomable to me, totally and utterly incalculable, the human suffering these parents torn from their children – some just babies - must be enduring. As a mum their pain is my pain. And that of tens of thousands of others, judging by the protests and solidarity actions which forced Trump to ‘retreat’. That much we can celebrate, that compassion and humanity has a voice that can make itself heard. But…. Yes Donald Trump has reversed this inhumane policy. He did so by signing an executive order – even though he earlier claimed this was not possible. But however the policy …

Stop the False Compromise

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Workers are gaining confidence since the election of the new Government.  Now is the time to push forward.
There is a pervasive myth on the left that while we may want to see significant, systemic change to society, we have to constantly tone down the demands we make and the reforms we argue for, because doing so will win support from business and the media and neutralise the arguments that National and their outriders try to make. This argument has been disproven time and time again, and this article demonstrates precisely why. Simon Bridges is saying that Ardern and her Government "must pause radical reforms or risk economic consequences of falling business confidence".
Now, which of the policies that the Government is proposing are "radical reforms"? Apparently, the main "radical reform" is the ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling — a supposed environmental win which in reality is tiny and fairly meaningless, given the likely expansi…

May 68: The year that Paris erupted

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It’s 50 years since Paris witnessed the incredible power of workers and students united, as millions took to the streets to challenge the reactionary French state, and shook the very class system to its core. We look at how events unfolded, and why the demands and action at their heart remain relevant today.

On the 22nd of March 1968, 150 students, far left groups, poets and musicians occupied the administration building of Nanterre University outside Paris to protest /discuss class discrimination in French society and political bureaucracy that controlled university funding. The university was still under construction, and some 12,000 students were expected to study in what was effectively still a building site. Not only that, but there was strict segregation between male and female students – which didn’t go down well at a time of growing sexual emancipation. In response to the occupation, the administration called the police. After announcing their demands, students left without inc…

Health sector workers pay dispute and Labour's "Independent" pay panel.

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From Middlemore to Whangarei Base and in little old Waitakere hospital the health sector workers have been making their voices heard in recent weeks. At Middlemore over 300 nurses and health sector workers rallied, supported by Unite Union, First Union and Etu. Notable was the absence of many public sector unions, though PSA did have a limited presence. At Waitakere, Auckland Action Against Poverty were there in solidarity, while in Whangarei there was a chorus of car horns as the public enthusiastically voiced their support.
What is clear from the strong turnout is that the 2% pay offer offered by the District Health Boards (DHBs) is not even close to what is required by our nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.
In a bid to ward off strike action, Jacinda Ardern proposed an independent panel work with the NZ Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and DHBs to find agreement on pay equity and working conditions.
NZNO members are currently in the process of making a decision on industrial act…

Rising in the North, South, and West Heath Sector Workers Reject 2%.

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From Middlemore to Whangarei Base and in little old Waitakere hospital the health sector workers are making the voices heard. At Middlemore over 300 nurses and health sector workers rallied supported by Unite Union, First Union and Etu. Notable was the absence of many public sector Unions though PSA did have a limited presence. At Waitakere Auckland Action Against poverty were there in solidarity while in Whangarei there was a chorus of car horns as the public enthusiastically voiced voiced their support for their nurses.

Turnout has been rather good With the Whangarei picket notably stronger than expected with around 50 people present. What is clear from the strong turnout is that the 2%pay offer is not even close to what is required by our health sector workers. Rather a figure closer to 18% would address the needs of the diligent heath sector workers.

Our workers deserve more 18% in 2018.

SA.

Whangarei Waitakere
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A Return to the "Oppositional Behavior of Last Century"

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A couple of months back, PSA union leader Erin Polaczuk told the Listener magazine she was glad to be operating in a ‘mature era’, where battles are won in court rather than on testosterone-fuelled picket lines. Okay, so those weren’t her exact words but that’s pretty much the gist. That thanks to the ‘feminisation of unions”, that “stupid oppositional behaviour” – ie strikes – are a little bit, you know, last century.

She cited the case of the huge settlement last year for care and support workers, led by the amazing Kristine Bartlett. That it was won in court. And yes, kudos to Kristine for taking her stand. But, crucially, Kristine had behind her the mass power of her union, and the real source of that power? The ability to strike.

Strikes – and I say this as a longtime female unionist – are not macho, they’re not old-fashioned, they’re not “stupid”. They are, quite simply, the only real firepower we have. The ultimate expression of the power of collectivity.

I have been a union mem…
A couple of months back, PSA union leader Erin Polaczuk told the Listener magazine she was glad to be operating in a ‘mature era’, where battles are won in court rather than on testosterone-fuelled picket lines. Okay, so those weren’t her exact words but that’s pretty much the gist. That thanks to the ‘feminisation of unions”,that “stupid oppositional behaviour” – ie strikes – are a little bit, you know, last century.
She cited the case of the huge settlement last year for care and support workers, led by the amazing Kristine Bartlett. That it was won in court. And yes, kudos to Kristine for taking her stand. But, crucially, Kristine had behind her the mass power of her union, and the real source of that power? The ability to strike.
Strikes – and I say this as a longtime female unionist – are not macho, they’re not old-fashioned, they’re not “stupid”. They are, quite simply, the only real firepower we have. The ultimate expression of the power of collectivity.
I have been a union membe…

A Return to Union Solidarity.

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To attempt a gargantuan struggle alone is a mammoth task indeed. Just as we unite together to fight the bosses unions must band together in solidarity when the negotiations break down and the struggle hits the streets. As the Nurses struggle intensifies the class is faced with the cruel reality that what eventuates here will set the tone for the worker's struggle under this somewhat misleadingly named Labour government.

For my generation the class struggle under a Labour government is a totally new game far more insidious than the cut throat front stabbing nature of the struggle under National. And many of the freshly graduated nurses are younger still. This it is vital that we stand on the shoulders of giants and knowledge the mighty struggles of the past. Wihi, and the Waterfront strikes, to Mc Strike and the Zero hours campaign we must struggle together and stand in solidarity with the nurses.

Nurses wages have stagnated in relation to inflation. Care has become a commodity un…

Why is the Media Silent About This... Aotearoa Rallies for Justice in Palestine

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"Why is the media silent about this"... The words of Palestinian refugee Billy Hania echoed through the town square as about 100 people rallied for justice in Palestine. That morning 10 people killed on the border of Gaza including one journalist according to Rodger Fowler from Kia Ora Gaza. Gaza the largest open air prison under constant attack while our government is silent. Fowler proposed that the government should shut the Israeli embassy.





In the aftermath of the good Friday massacre Auckland rallied for Palestine where Israeli snipers killed 18 with highly train snipers targeted journalists and civilians while the blockade of Gaza continues to affect the lives of millions of Palestinians who were cleared out of the land occupied by Israel. The Labour government continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel regardless of the human rights abuses said rouge state continues to perpetuate. The perpetrator of the violence continues to claim to be the victim.

As we a…