Archive | August, 2014

Where to vote: advance voting places from Sept 3

29 Aug

Elections NZ have announced details of the advance voting places. You can check your electorate’s advance voting places here at, and below are posters with some of the advance voting spots which you can print off for work. In these posters – in most provincial areas, we have a poster for each electorate. In cities, we have combined a few electorates together.

Northland: Northland; Whangarei; Rodney
Auckland: North Auckland combined; East Auckland combined; Central Auckland combined; West Auckland combined; South Auckland combined.
Waikato & Bay of Plenty: Waikato & Coromandel; Hamilton combined; East Coast; Rotorua;Tauranga;
Central & Lower North Island: Taupo; Hawkes Bay; New Plymouth; Taranaki King Country; Whanganui; Rangitikei; Palmerston North; Otaki;
Wellington region: Wellington Region multi-electorate; Mana; Ohariu; Rimutaka; Hutt Valley; Rongotai; Wellington Central; Wairarapa;
Upper South Island:Nelson; Kaikoura
Canterbury & West Coast: Christchurch; Rangitata; Selwyn; Waimakariri; West Coast Tasman
Otago & Southland: Waitaki; Dunedin combined; Clutha Southland; Invercargill.

Thailand: Drop the charges against labour activist

29 Aug
Andy’s trial starts on Tuesday – please act today. Is this email not displaying correctly?
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British migrant rights activist Andy Hall faces 7 years imprisonment and $10 million in damages from lawsuits brought by Thai pineapple company Natural Fruit.

Hall’s research for workers’ rights NGO Finnwatch found serious abuses at Natural Fruit’’s pineapple factory including child labour, illegally low wages, confiscation of identity documents and violence.

Rather than address issues, Natural Fruit tried to silence Andy with bogus lawsuits.

The first of several criminal trials begins on Tuesday 2 September.

Please support the online campaign demanding that the charges against Andy be dropped:


(If you’re having any problems with that link, try clicking here instead.)

After you’ve done that — and here’s the important bit — please try to get your friends, family and fellow union members to sign up as well.

Thanks very much.

Eric Lee

Which campaigns have I missed? Click here to find out.

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Unite Union delegates – get out and vote

28 Aug

Vote for a Living Wage – what the parties say!

28 Aug
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Inequality is high on the agenda this election and the Living Wage is one way Government could get its house in order, set an example for the private sector, and reduce poverty for thousands of NZ families.

Three political parties fronted up to our election events and said YES to a Living Wage for all public service employees and contracted workers delivering services on a regular and on-going basis. The Labour Party, the Green Party, and the Internet/Mana Party. We also got a response from the Maori Party post the events to say they also supported a Living Wage. Vote to change NZ! Vote Living Wage!

The Living Wage is rejected by the National Party, ACT, NZ First, United Future, and Conservatives.

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Casework: 15-year-old working nights at McDonald’s

28 Aug


By Bonita Belworthy, Unite Organiser, Central Districts

It is always good when you get a quick resolution of an issue that has been brought to your attention by a member.

Every day we get calls and emails from members who have workplace issues they need help with.

One recent case was particularly pleasing to resolve.

A 15-year-old employed at a McDonald’s restaurant was being required to work the over night shift. This was a concern for me as as I have worked nights in the fast food industry and a 15-year-old should not have to deal with the type of verbal abuse we receive from the customers that frequent during those hours.

This member was not aware that working after 10:30pm he was entitled to a Transport allowance of $5.00 per shift and that being rostered on for 3-4 shifts a week he had to be issued with two pairs of trousers.

So first thing of course is to get hold of the Franchisee owner. In this case we are lucky because this one is good at resolving legitimate concerns. The Franchisee responded quickly, thanked me for raising the concerns and stated that the member would no longer be rostered on the overnight shifts with a guarantee that his total hours will not be impacted in any way.

The Franchisee was also a bit concerned when I mentioned that the member did not receive the travel allowance as it was an automated function of their payroll system. It turns out the member did get paid this allowance and I was assured the Restaurant Manager will go over the payslip and show the member where this allowance is located.

With the trousers, the member will be receiving them on his next rostered shift.

So we had a change of shifts with his hours protected and new uniforms provided. All benefits of being a Unite Union member.

Leaving you with the song by Justice Crew, Que Sera.

Are You Ready to Vote?

27 Aug

Kia ora Mike —

It’s just 8 days until voting starts on September 3! More people than ever are going to vote in this General Election.

We’ll be emailing you at least once a week until the election with things you can do to make sure as many people as possible get out and vote.

This week there are two quick things we’re asking you to do

  1. Visit this website and make sure that you are enrolled to vote. All you need to know is your name and address
  2. Forward this email on to 3 friends and ask them to check their enrolment details.

Remember if you aren’t enrolled there is still time. You can vote and enrol at the same time between 3 – 19 September. You CANNOT enrol and vote on 20 September (you must already be enrolled).

We’d love it if you joined us on facebook – we’re over 3,000 strong already

Let’s get ready to vote!

Helen Kelly, CTU President

Authorised by: Helen Kelly, NZCTU, Level 7, 178 Willis St, Wellington

Get Out and Vote · New Zealand
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Get up, stand up!

27 Aug

A nonpartisan project aimed at inspiring those disengaged with politics to stand as one (Tūtahi) and vote.

The stakes have never been higher. By voting you can make our collective voices heard and keep our democracy strong.

New Zealand’s general election takes place on September 20 BUT anyone can vote at advance polling booths from September 3.

The voice of our younger generation is lost. 42% of 18-24 year olds didn’t vote in the last election. If this trend continues, then within a few years participation in our democracy will reach catastrophically low levels.

Let’s flip the script and get young people to turn out in record numbers.

See more at:

Get Up Stand Up / 2014
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Putting an end to zero-hour contracts in 2015

25 Aug

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

All around the world attention is being drawn to what have been dubbed in the UK “zero-hour contracts”. These are contracts that don’t have any guaranteed hours even though the worker may be regularly employed.

Unite Union has been struggling with exactly this problem since we started organising in sectors that had lost union protection during the 1990s.

What we discovered was that large sectors of the working class in this country had no guaranteed hours of work. This applied to fast food restaurants, security, cinemas, call centres and hotels. This doesn’t just apply to completely casualised sectors. The SkyCity Casino in Auckland is a 24-7 business with over 3000 staff. It knows pretty exactly how many customers it will have on any particular day of the week. It has every ability to have most workers on full-time contracts. Instead it keeps two out of three workers on part time contracts with only 8 hours of work guaranteed each week.

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Bonus recovered for Call Centre worker

25 Aug

An update on the story we ran in June regarding the Call Centre worker who lost her bonus for taking a month off for caring for her terminally ill father- we are please to confirm that she has now been paid what she was owed (over $1000.00).

The letter came out of the blue with no explanation except to say there had been an error in calculating the bonus.

The union member involved is very pleased to finally have received what was owed except extremely disappointed in the company for putting her through the wringer to get it. She wrote to the union last week to say "thank you for being there during that time."

The union was shocked at the response to the last blog story and received many more accounts from members and non-members of similar apparent unfair discrimination against workers who had to take time off work due to their own sickness or to care for family members.

One would think that these large companies would want to walk the walk when it comes to being a fair and reasonable employer however it has become apparent that this is not the case with this particular employer.

Unite Union Call Centre Organiser Shanna Reeder says, "We are so pleased this worker has had a good outcome but we are determined to continue to assist those workers who came forward with their stories until a fair outcome is reached for all of them."

Liberation Forces Debate Future of South Africa

23 Aug

Members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) protest on the streets of Durban early July.

By Frederico Fuentes

Reprinted from TeleSur

Around 30 guests from across the globe and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met from August 7-10 in Johannesburg to discuss the prospects and challenges of building a new, left political alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party of now deceased national hero Nelson Mandela.

This call by the country’s largest trade union, with over 300,000 members, has caused reverberations throughout the working class as a whole, and has led some in the media to describe the process as “likely to lead to the birth of a workers‘ party that will eventually challenge [the ANC] for power”.

NUMSA’s challenge to the established status quo has also highlighted the many dangers and challenges they face, perhaps most graphically illustrated by the murder of three of its shop stewards on the eve of the symposium.

Post-apartheid South Africa

That NUMSA’s call has received so much attention can be explained by the reality of South African society, twenty years after the fall of apartheid.

When the ANC was swept into power in 1994, under South Africa’s first elections in which all citizens were allowed to vote, it did so as the party that had successfully led South Africa’s “democratic revolution” against apartheid.

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