Archive | December, 2013

Getting the right pay these holidays

23 Dec

Secure Jobs

With Christmas and New Years here it is important to know what your entitlements are through this period.


If you work on any public holiday, you should always be paid at least time and a half for the time you actually work (that means your normal hourly rate plus 50%).


You are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise be a working day for you.


Establishing if a day is an otherwise working day is important to understand what entitlements you should receive on a public holiday. If it is not clear what day would be an “otherwise working day” then you should:

  • Check your Collective Agreement
  • Check your work patterns in previous weeks
  • Consider any other factors, including;
    • if you only work when work is available
    • rosters or similar systems
    • reasonable expectations (if you would be expected to work on the day).

It is standard practice that if you work three out of the previous four same days of the week the public holiday falls on you are entitled to treat it as an “otherwise working day” but this isn’t a hard rule.


If you feel your roster has been changed by your manager in December so that you don’t qualify for a day-in-lieu then contact Unite on 0800 2UNITE and let us know. Continue reading

Migrant worker exploitation

20 Dec









By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

In the course of this week, Unite Union has dealt with several cases of extreme exploitation of migrant workers.

It seems that some of the liquor shops around Auckland have been employing students from India and paying a pittance– four or five dollars an hour, well below the legal minimum of $13.75 an hour. The students were working well in excess of the legal 20 hours a week allowed under their student visas.

The students are trying to make ends meet. The employers, many of whom are of the same national background as the students they are hiring, are using all sorts of bullying and threats to keep the workers in line. Breaching their visas can be a reason for the students to be sent home, so it is difficult for them to use official channels to complain. Wage and time records are non-existent or falsified.

In one case, the employer had an ownership interest in a private training institution where their student employees were attending courses costing tens of thousands of dollars in fees.

A picket by Unite of one store in the franchised Super Liquor chain got a quick response from the national brand owner to fix the problem and pay what was owed. We shall see.

Continue reading

Insult to send tour supporters

16 Dec

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from Herald on Sunday, 15 December 2013)

What an insult that John Key appointed Jim Bolger and Don McKinnon as part of a five-person New Zealand delegation to Nelson Mandela’s memorial services.

Both were members of a National government that supported apartheid and labelled Mandela a terrorist. They cynically used the Springbok rugby propaganda tour in 1981 to whip up the redneck base for electoral purposes. On the back of the carnage the tour caused, their party called a snap election and scraped home by one seat.

Continue reading

Photo and Videos for Migrant Taxi Drivers Victory

13 Dec

Auckland Taxi Drivers Rise Up (establishing shot)

First Union solidarity- interview with Bill Bradford.

Unite Union solidarity- Joe Carolan praises new Migrant Workers

“We Need Justice!”


13 Dec

Unite Union is looking to employ full-time and part-time organisers to be based in Wellington and Christchurch. Both organisers will have a primary repsonsibility for visiting, recruiting and representing workers in the fast food industry, cinemas, hotels and security.

Organisers need to have some experience as a union delegate, being an advocate for workers and beneficiaries or organising experience in community movements. A knowledge of current industrial law would be an advantage.

Applicants need to be computer literate. A current drivers licence is essential as substantial travel will be required.

Applications should be sent by email to Unite National Director Mike Treen mike by 5pm, Friday, December 20.

Select Committee Didn’t Listen re Employment Law Changes

11 Dec

Despite over 12,000 submissions making it clear the Governments proposed Employment Law changes are unfair and will drive wages down, the Select Committee report released today shows it has failed to listen to the working people of this country.

“With 50% of kiwis saying they are having trouble making ends meet, 46% of Kiwis not even getting a pay increase last year and recent reports of working families living below the poverty line, it is unbelievable the Government would continue with these very bad proposals” Helen Kelly, CTU President said.

Union rally against the planned changes to employment law

In its report back today the Government majority on the Select Committee, has recommended virtually no change and instead continues to support the removal of the lunch and tea break, the ability of employers to refuse to conclude a collective agreement in bargaining, and to not offer new workers coverage and has even extended the plans to remove employment security from the country’s cleaning and catering staff further than originally proposed.

“This law breaches international obligations and is unfair on working people in this country” Helen Kelly said.

“While Mr Bridges continues to state the current law favours workers, the reality of the prevalence of low paid, insecure and dangerous work speaks otherwise and for the Government to make that situation worse, shows it has no mercy for working people”.

“This Government is making a clear political choice to victimise those that make this economy run. The Government’s attitude that workers are a commodity and that low wages are desirable, is not in the interests of the over 70% of Kiwis who get their main source of income from wages. We are calling on the Prime Minister to listen to us, to ignore the Select Committee and pull this Bill, in the interests of all Kiwi mums and dads.”

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 1918-2013

11 Dec

Introduction by Roger Annis

(Reprinted from A Socialist In Canada)

Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison, Feb 11, 1990, with then-wife Winnie

Dec 10, 2013–Today is the day of mass commemoration in South Africa of Nelson Mandela, a great, inspirational figure of modern times. He died on December 5 at the age of 95. Below is a selection of articles that analyzes his life and the evolution of politics in South Africa during and after his tenure as president of the country.

Mandela was the revolutionary leader of the mass struggle against the racist system in South Africa known as Apartheid. He served 27 years in prison for leading the struggle against Apartheid, including co-launching an armed struggle in 1961. He was arrested in 1962 and imprisoned until an international campaign of solidarity won his release in 1990. He was elected president of South Africa in 1994. He retired from politics in 1999 but continued to speak out on issues. He opposed the U.S. war on Iraq in 2003 and spoke out in defense of the victims of Africa’s deadly epidemic of HIV/AIDS.

Most of the big capitalist governments of the world supported the Apartheid system that came into place in the early 1900s and was further institutionalized in 1948. Leaders of those governments are today attending the memorial event in Johannesburg, including the drone president of the United States, Barack Obama. Mandela and the ANC political party he led were proscribed as “terrorist” by the U.S. government during the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s. That proscription remained in place until 2008, including during the terms of two Black secretaries of state–Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.

One of the world leaders attending and speaking today in Johannesburg is Raul Castro, president of Cuba. His country played a decisive role in the overthrow of Apartheid through its military assistance to Angola and Namibia during the 1970s and 1980s. The three countries defeated a military invasion by Apartheid South Africa’s armed forces beginning in 1976 that sought to recolonize Angola, recently liberated from colonial rule by Portugal, and retain Namibia as a South African colony. In recognition of Cuba’s role in bringing about the fall of Apartheid, Cuba was the first country that Mandela visited following his release from prison.

Five other world leaders are speaking today at the mass memorial–from the United States, Brazil, India, China and Namibia.

The article selection below begins with the full text of a commentary by John Minto, published today in New Zealand’s leading daily. Minto is a veteran of the anti-Apartheid movement in New Zealand. That country was a key battleground in one of the fronts of the international fight against Apartheid–boycotts of sporting exchanges. Progressive New Zealanders fought for a boycott of all rugby, cricket and other exchanges with Apartheid South Africa. Protests, including pitched battles in the streets, were waged in New Zealand beginning in 1969, as in many other countries where people supported the liberation movement of the South African people.

* * *

A great man but not a great president –
We should celebrate Mandela’s struggle against apartheid but not overlook the serious failings of his reign.

By John Minto, published in the New Zealand Herald, Dec 10, 2013

When an iconic figure dies, the accolades come thick and fast from a wide range of people who see the wider goodness in a person beyond any day to day political squabbles.

In the case of Nelson Mandela, the accolades are strong for someone seen as a towering figure of the 20th century. United States President Barack Obama, for example, called him “influential, courageous and profoundly good” and it’s easy to make a case to justify each of those adjectives and more.

Mandela was a great man. He was inspirational to South Africa’s black majority as they struggled under the racist oppression of apartheid and he was inspirational also to a generation of people outside South Africa fighting to make a better world. He seemed to embody the best of human qualities after his release from prison in 1990 and as he was elected first President of a post-apartheid South Africa in 1994.

Continue reading

Vote to save last of family silver

10 Dec

By Matt McCarten

Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday December 1, 2013

Dad tells his family he’s selling a number of rental properties the whanau owns through a family trust, which their ancestors have built up over generations.

This genius informs his beloved that he’ll use the asset-sale money to pay off household debt. Given the properties earn a healthy 8 per cent return that already services the debts, there’s an uproar.

His children and grandkids point out that while he’s the family boss, he is only a trustee. It’s their heritage he’s selling. They predict that once he has sold off the first round of assets he’ll just keep selling until there’s nothing left.

Continue reading


9 Dec


Following a failure to reach a resolution between the Auckland Airport and the Auckland Taxi Association, the 180 members of the ATA have chosen to go on hunger strike today outside Auckland Airport’s headquarters.

On Wednesday last week 50 drivers working for President Taxis were notified that President Taxis would no longer have a contract with Auckland Airport as of 11.59 pm on Monday 9 December 2013.

The drivers submitted a list of five demands on 13 November, which are yet to be complied with. So far, the Auckland Airport has agreed to provide only very basic facilities like drinking water, toilets & shades, which has been requested and missing for over 10 years. Taxi companies have also failed to demand these basic needs from Airport management.

“Main rank drivers are surviving on as little as $4 an hour”, said Manmohan Singh, the Association’s spokesperson. “Main rank drivers have been told not to charge more than $20 for inter-terminal transfers, while other big brand companies like Green Cabs have been given permission to charge $35. Demands from ATA such as a ‘restoration’ of these short distance fares have been denied.”


For further comment: Manmohan Singh, spokesperson, Auckland Taxi Association, on

Selling our future for $75 each

2 Dec

By Matt McCarten

Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday December 1, 2013

Only a scriptwriter for a Hollywood blockbuster film about a Texas multi-national scouring the world to extract wealth from other people’s communities would come up with the name Anadarko.

When the topic of Anadarko’s deep-sea drilling in our waters came up on last Sunday’s Q + A on TVNZ, host Susan Wood quipped “I do want to get us back to the money here, because that is the real issue.” She is right. It is about money.

The companies that extract oil in New Zealand are almost entirely foreign owned.

Despite their claims that they are “only” keeping 58 per cent of their profits, a report funded by the Government estimates the share of profits sent overseas for any future oil finds will reach 90 per cent.

Our government’s current take (royalties plus taxes) is the fourth lowest in the world.

Even the Texas good old boys must feel guilty about taking advantage of our naivety.

The Government and the oil corporations frame the debate around job creation and economic benefits.

Most of us get bamboozled by corporate cheerleaders and their spin doctors. It is deliberate. Any opposition is sneeringly written off as fringe loonies. But we do have to enter the debate, even if it is a dishonest game of jobs versus environment.

There are fewer than 5000 jobs in oil, gas and coal mining. Dirty energy acolytes claim that if we let them have their way they could double the numbers.

Compare that with the 111,000 jobs in tourism that rely on our clean, green image. In manufacturing, we employ 190,000.

In the present Government’s term, 40,000 of these jobs disappeared without John Key lifting a finger. Is it really about jobs?

Half of all New Zealand jobs and 70 per cent of our export revenue are directly linked to our clean, green reputation. Deep-sea oil drilling interests claim our Government could receive $300 million from it. That’s $75 per New Zealander. We trade away our best marketing brand for that?

The future of this country is in clean energy. PricewaterhouseCoopers says future jobs will be in clean technologies and could be worth $22 billion a year. Investment New Zealand estimates we can create a $150b high-value, low-carbon export economy in 12 years.

Then there’s the small matter of climate stability we rely on. If more than a fifth of the current discovered fossil fuels is burned, the earth’s heating will increase by more than two degrees.

That’s the irreversible tipping point for climate change. It beggars belief that we are enthusiastically pursuing an agenda that will result in crippling droughts and storms that will destroy our economy.

Long-term destruction of our agricultural nation is being traded for short-term gains for a few oil barons. There is a lunatic fringe. But it’s not us.

(Matt McCarten is National Secretary of Unite Union. His weekly Herald on Sunday column are a commentary on social and political issues in New Zealand. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unite Union.)

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