Unite will be holding its 2014 National conference and AGM in Auckland on Monday 1st December and Tuesday 2nd December at the St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby, Auckland. Delegates will be attending from all over the country to participate in training workshops, discussions about the future of unionism and Unite, and to elect Unite’s National Executive, the leading body of the union.
The conference is a great opportunity for leading members from different sectors and regions to meet up, learn from each other’s experiences, and take the movement forward. Any member can attend as an observer but voting representatives need to be either elected as AGM reps or already elected as a rep from their worksite.
(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)
By Prof Jane Kelsey
On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back.
Why should you join us?
The latest version of intellectual property chapter, leaked last week, is a timely reminder of what’s at stake. This confirmed that the US has backed off some demands, such as the ban on parallel importing, because its own courts said ruled in favour of parallel imports. It has toned down some other demands, such as criminalising those who break the regional digital locks on DVDs, in the face of a concerted campaign for Internet freedom.
But the leak showed two major risks for New Zealand are still on the table.
Big Pharma wants to lock up access to information on new generation biologics medicines to treat cancer, diabetes and other crippling illnesses in New Zealand for a further three or even seven years. That means they reap their megaprofits for longer. Pharmac would have to reallocate funds from its capped budget to pay for them or face a political and public backlash for not subsidising the super-expensive new life saving medicines. Think Herceptin.
Workers are deeply concerned about the research Statistics New Zealand have released today showing that almost one-quarter of agriculture, forestry, and fishery workers had a work-related injury claim accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in 2013.
Provisional figures for 2013 show that agriculture, forestry, and fishery workers made 226 injury claims per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), and 2.6 percent of these workers experienced an injury that resulted in a week or more off work.
“Clearly workers in these areas are over represented. There is something seriously and systemically wrong when a quarter of workforce in any particular sector are injured at work.” CTU President Helen Kelly said today.
“There seems to be an acceptance that there are some sectors where a certain number of injuries, or even fatalities are expected. This is an unacceptable perspective. Every worker should be able to return home from work safety.” Kelly said.
“The thing all three of these sectors have in common is workers have no viable form of independent representation including through unions and the current employment law makes collectivising across these types of businesses extremely difficult. The industries are then characterised by poor working conditions, high turnover, and a lack of investment in training and long hours. Instead of dealing with this reality, the Government intends to attack workers’ rights and in this environment, we can expect these disastrous statistics to be repeated next year.” Kelly said.
For further comment, please contact:
Helen Kelly, President, CTU
For more information about these statistics: Visit Injury Statistics – Work-related Claims: 2013
SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation.
The solo mother, has worked at the company for 15 years. Speaking through tears in her voice she told the meeting "I’ve been part time for 11 years, working for 2 shifts per week which, being a solo mother, has got me through. You are now dictating that I can only have 1 shift a week, no consultation, nothing, just suddenly turned up on my roster. I can’t live on 1 shift a week."
Unite Union which represents Ms Alpine says she has worked their busiest weekend shifts regularly for 11 years. Unite National Director Mike Treen says "hey have given no reason for the change except vague assertions about the need for flexibility."
"The company has claimed that they only want to change the days she worked but this is a lie" says Mr Treen. "They simply cut her shifts from two to one and she didn’t find out about the change until she saw the roster."
The company refused to reinstate the shift at a meeting with Ms Alpine and Unite Union representatives this afternoon.
"To rub salt in the wounds they made a not so veiled threat that she could be disciplined for speaking to the media about the issue" said Mr Treen.
STATEMENT TO SHAREHOLDERS MEETING
"Hi my name’s Carolyn Alpine, I’m a shareholder. I’m also a front line staff so I might put a face to the front line staff. I want to thank you for your, um… I’m probably going to have to sell my house. I’ve been an employee for 15 years, [starts crying] I’ve been part time for 11 years, working for 2 shifts per week which, being a solo mother, has got me through. You are now dictating that I can only have 1 shift a week, no consultation, nothing, just suddenly turned up on my roster. I can’t live on 1 shift a week. I thank you for the shares, they come from a previous scheme that SkyCity ran for us so you see so I haven’t actually paid for these so thank you for those. But I just want to let you know that front line staff are not happy. I don’t know what to say because I’m just so upset at the things that you’re doing to your front line staff now. There’s nothing…I’m having a meeting with HR when I leave here. I’m not expecting anything to change because they are so adamant that that is all they’re doing. That’s all I’ve got to say"
NZ HERALD REPORT
Although SkyCity said it prided itself on being a leading employer, one staff member stood up at the annual meeting to complain of having her shifts reduced from two a week to one without consultation, which could mean she had to sell her Auckland house.
The solo mother, Carolyn Alpine is a table games supervisor and has worked for SkyCity for more than 15 years. She said several other staff members had also had similar treatment.
She already had a scheduled meeting with the group’s human resources this afternoon and SkyCity said the proposal was to change the days she worked rather than reduce the number of shifts. Morrison said the staff member would be treated fairly, but the company had to ensure it had flexibility in its gaming operations to run efficiently and meet market demand.
Another shareholder Lynne Webber suggested the directors could forgo their proposed $65,000 or 5 percent increase in fees and apply it to some of the group’s lower paid workers. Chairman Chris Moller said that would be something he’d discuss with fellow directors.
By Mike Treen, Unite National Director
Reprinted from The Daily Blog
Working people in the advanced capitalist world should reject appeals by the rulers of their countries to support the foreign policy of “their” country.
Inevitably that foreign policy is simply a programme to advance the interests of the super wealthy owners of industry and services to grab the biggest possible share of the wealth available on the world market. They disguise their naked self interest with appeals to the so-called “national interest” with claims that we are fighting for lofty goals like “freedom and democracy”. We are even asked to wage war for these goals. Often it is the working people on both sides of these wars who are being shafted or killed. But inevitably a few years down the line we discover that it was all lies.
I want to touch on a few of these wars from my lifetime and the lies told to support them.
The New Zealand Army participated in the Vietnam war from 1965 to 1972 when the troops were withdrawn by the newly elected Labour government under Norm Kirk. The previous National Party Prime Minister Keith Holyoake had declared: “Whose will is to prevail in South Vietnam? The imposed will of the North Vietnamese communists and their agents, or the freely expressed will of the people of South Vietnam?” Every word was a lie. It was widely accepted that if the elections promised at the 1954 peace conference had been held the Viet Minh forces led by Ho Chi Minh would have won easily. Instead the US installed a puppet dictatorship in the South of extreme brutality. Twenty years later the US was forced to leave Vietnam, the southern dictatorship soon collapsed and the country was reunified. But Vietnam had suffered several million deaths and a legacy of destruction they still are recovering from today. The US lost 58,000 troops. NZ lost 38. Every one of the killed was murdered in defence of a world capitalist empire.
The National Business Review commented in on August 15 that in the early years of this government Finance Minister Bill English occasionally pointed out New Zealand has had post World War Two recessions roughly every ten years: in 1957-58; 1967-68; the mid 1970s; the mid 1980s; 1997-98 and 2007-8. "’You’d think we would see them coming’ he would observe laconically"
This Sunday Unite’s National Director Mike Treen is going to try and explain why capitalism regularly has periodic recessions and occasionally great depressions in its history that capitalist observers cannot predict nor understand.
Socialist Aotearoa Sunday School, 2pm, Sunday, October 12, Unite Union, 6a Western Springs Rd, Kingsland, Auckland