Monday, April 16, 2018

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

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

Waitakere

Waitakere

Waitakere

Whangarei

Whangarei

Middlemore

Middlemore

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Return to the "Oppositional Behavior of Last Century"



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 member for almost 30 years and in that time I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why striking, even belonging to a union, isn’t smart or modern. As a sub-editor on London’s Daily Mirror in the early 90s, I heard ‘ah but we’re white collar’, ‘we’re part of the new middle-class’ ‘we’re creatives; we don’t clock on and off… unions are for blue collar workers’; ‘we should form a staff association; they’re less confrontational’. Lol. Why not form a book club while you’re at it.
I haven’t heard the ‘it’s not ladylike’ before. But hey.

So Erin, you think strikes are macho? Tell that to those American women teachers who, despite living in a country ruled by an arch-sexist, recently went on strike for nine days and won a pay rise for all state employees in West Virginia.
Tell it to the all-female kindergarten workers in New Delhi who last year won a doubling in their salary after a strike by their, also female, union leader Shivani.

Closer to home, tell that to Joyce Hawe of Te Arawa, a machinist at Progress Manufacturing in Porirua who organised a successful strike for higher pay. Or Bertie Ratu, who organised a protest when Talleys sacked her for being a unionist. Or any number of women throughout labour history. The Dagenham machinists whose action in the 70s led to not just pay rises for them, but a pay equality law change. The many women throughout history at the forefront of revolutionary action, from the Paris Commune to the Russian Revolution.

Striking is a proud and mighty tradition – for men and women, side by side. And strikes have often been led by women because in a world where we suffer discrimination and sexism, we understand that it’s by withdrawing our labour that we can really be heard. We understand that while the 1% hold the wealth, it’s us - ordinary men and women - who create it.

Why do I mention this now? Well, we’ve just seen a week of strong, vocal rallies by nurses from the NZNO union, many of them women. They are on the brink of strike action after rejecting a paltry 2 per cent pay offer. They feel undervalued. They feel their work conditions are jeopardising quality of care for patients. They don’t want to strike. They’re in their profession because they care about sick people, so of course a vote to withdraw their labour – however minimal the risk to patients – is not taken lightly. But they know, as I and millions of women before me have known, that strikes make the bosses sit up and listen.

All power to them.
Maria SA



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 member for almost 30 years and in that time I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why striking, even belonging to a union, isn’t smart or modern. As a sub-editor on London’s Daily Mirror in the early 90s, I heard ‘ah but we’re white collar’, ‘we’re part of the new middle-class’ ‘we’re creatives; we don’t clock on and off… unions are for blue collar workers’; ‘we should form a staff association; they’re less confrontational’. Lol. Why not form a book club while you’re at it.
I haven’t heard the ‘it’s not ladylike’ before. But hey.

So Erin, you think strikes are macho? Tell that to those American women teachers who, despite living in a country ruled by an arch-sexist, recently went on strike for nine days and won a pay rise for all state employees in West Virginia.

 
Tell it to the all-female kindergarten workers in New Delhi who last year won a doubling in their salary after a strike by their, also female, union leader Shivani.

Closer to home, tell that to Joyce Hawe of Te Arawa, a machinist at Progress Manufacturing in Porirua who organised a successful strike for higher pay. Or Bertie Ratu, who organised a protest when Talleys sacked her for being a unionist. Or any number of women throughout labour history. The Dagenham machinists whose action in the 70s led to not just pay rises for them, but a pay equality law change. The many women throughout history at the forefront of revolutionary action, from the Paris Commune to the Russian Revolution.

Striking is a proud and mighty tradition – for men and women, side by side. And strikes have often been led by women because in a world where we suffer discrimination and sexism, we understand that it’s by withdrawing our labour that we can really be heard. We understand that while the 1% hold the wealth, it’s us - ordinary men and women - who create it.

Why do I mention this now? Well, we’ve just seen a week of strong, vocal rallies by nurses from the NZNO union, many of them women. They  are on the brink of strike action after rejecting a paltry 2 per cent pay offer. They feel undervalued. They feel their work conditions are jeopardising quality of care for patients. They don’t want to strike. They’re in their profession because they care about sick people, so of course a vote to withdraw their labour – however minimal the risk to patients – is not taken lightly. But they know, as I and millions of women before me have known, that strikes make the bosses sit up and listen.

All power to them.

Monday, April 09, 2018

A Return to Union Solidarity.


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 under the cut throat regime of recent health policy with flow on impact in the community.  With patient care not up to standard. Inexperienced nurses forced to perform to a standard far beyond their years resulting in inordinate strain on our youngest healthcare workers. Nursing has become a low wage job which is totally unacceptable. Middlemore is falling apart DHB's are rotten to the core. The government won't do it we must get out on the picket lines and support the Nurses.



So where is the money going to come from? Put simply there is only one way to collect the funding to sort this colossal mess the current tax system is skewed to extort funding from those who can least afford it while the capitalist classes pay little to no tax on the surplus value that they extract from our tireless labour. We have the money to fix this it is simply sitting captive in the pockets of the wealthy. We must Tax the Rich to Sort the hospitals. Pay the nurses a living wage and fund the care to standards that will be the envy of the world.

Solidarity Forever
Comrade Eva.

Friday, April 06, 2018

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

"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 approach the 50th anniversary of the notorious Nakba day we must build in solidarity to send shock waves around the world to bring this rouge apartheid state of Israel to it's knees. To stop Israel we must make the world say no to Zionism. The two state solution is dead Israel had no intention of honoring it. The only course of action is a single secular Palestinian state where Jew and Arab alike have an equal stake.

Solidarity and Freedom for Palistine.
Comrade Eva




      LGBT For Palistine