Archive | September, 2014

Tasks before left and labour movement

30 Sep

Unite cinema delegates like other workers were hoping for a change in government

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election.

There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana that contributed to the defeat. Each party needs to have a discussion on what those were.

However, the defeat was the product of objective conditions in the first instance.

We had a unified right wing that knew the importance of strategic voting. National got two bonus MP’s in Epsom (Act Party) and Ohariu (United Future) and helped defeat Internet-Mana by urging a Labour vote in Te Tai Tokerau. John Key urged a vote for the Labour candidate to defeat Hone Harawira and so also stopped him bringing in at least one more left MP on the list.

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Support the Hong Kong Unions strike for democracy!

30 Sep

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) – the only independent union in China – has called for workers to strike in support of the democracy movement as mass civil disobedience actions come under heavy police attack. The Swire Beverages (Coca-Cola) union and the HKCTU unions of school teachers and dockers are striking and will be joined by other member unions.

Tensions have been building in Hong Kong since the August 31 government announcement that candidates for the position of Chief Executive would have to be vetted and approved by a pro-business, pro-Beijing committee.

The protests, originally organized by the students’ federation and the Occupy Central coalition, have drawn increasing numbers of supporters. The mainland government has harshly condemned the protestors’ demands and the "illegal" protests.

On September 28, the HKCTU declared "we cannot let the students fight alone", and called for workers to strike in support of 4 demands: the immediate release of all the arrested, an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly, replacing the "fake universal suffrage" formula with the genuine political reform workers have been demanding, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying.

The HKCTU has been the backbone of the democracy movement, before and following Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule. Their courageous action deserves the support of trade unions everywhere.

Use the link below to send a message to the Hong Kong Chief Executive in support of the democratic movement and the strikers’ demands!

Stand against gender-based violence at work!

26 Sep


Support an ILO Convention - Stop Gender-Based Violence at Work

Gender-based violence in the workplace is a pernicious and global labor and human rights violation that particularly impacts women, their well-being, and their participation in the economy and society.

Whether occurring at the actual place of work or on the way to and from work, it can take on multiple forms, including:

  • Physical abuse, including assault, battery, attempted murder and murder
  • Sexual violence including rape and sexual assault
  • Verbal abuse and threats of violence
  • Bullying
  • Psychological abuse and intimidation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Threats of violence
  • Economic and financial abuse
  • Stalking

Worldwide, 35% of women have experienced violence, and 40 to 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.1

This global problem demands a global response. Trade unions are calling for a new international Convention on gender-based violence at the workplace, and are using their voice at the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body (ILO GB) to put the topic on the agenda of the International Labour Conference (ILC). The ILC is where international labour standards get negotiated and agreed upon by employers, governments and workers. A proposal is currently pending before the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to develop an international standard to guide governments and businesses on developing strong laws and policies to prevent and remedy the problem. Developing an international standard will promote global equality and foster safer workplaces.

You can take action now to support women workers’ rights and stand against gender-based violence at work, by urging Coca-Cola, Disney and Procter & Gamble — leaders in the United States Council for International Business — to support the call at the ILO Governing Board in November 2014 to put a standard-setting conversation on gender-based violence in the world of work on the agenda of the International Labour Conference.

Add your voice here.

Thank you,

Judy Gearhart
Executive Director
International Labor Rights Forum

Shit-stirrers or Problem solvers?

25 Sep

By Shanna Olsen-Reeder, Hotels organiser for Unite Union

Have you ever heard a Manager or person of ‘authority’ say something bad about the union? We hear whispers about it all the time. But why do employers say these things?

Are they right or wrong? Let’s look at some of the common things our members report hearing from their bosses.

They say: “Why would you join a union? The union doesn’t do anything.”

We say: “Our union is run by our members. We follow their direction and they are our boss! We work with individual members to solve their problems on site. We negotiate employment agreements for groups of workers. We educate our members and delegates on employment law and their rights at work. We have also run nationwide campaigns to get rid of youth rates, raise the minimum wage, and get better laws to benefit workers. Anyone who says the union ‘doesn’t do anything’ must not be watching the news when we are on it getting the job done!”

They say: “The union doesn’t put bread and butter on the table. It’s a waste of money. You can’t afford it, even if you get a pay rise the non-union people will get it anyway.

We say: “46% percent of New Zealanders did not get a pay rise last year. 98% of union members did. Being union guarantees you a representative bargaining for your pay rise. Being non-union doesn’t guarantee you anything. Your Employer isn’t doing you favour by paying you a wage. You are making millions for the company and their shareholders and they are giving you a tiny portion of that in return.

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Fighting precarious work – with a Thunderclap

25 Sep
Using social media to boost our signal above the noise. Is this email not displaying correctly?
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To help raise awareness of the problem of precarious work, IndustriALL Global Union has launched a Thunderclap for the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October.

A Thunder-what?

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of Thunderclap, so here’s the official explanation:

"Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before."

Is that clear? Maybe not. Thunderclap allows us to allow send out the same message on the same day and at the same time, automatically, to our friends and followers on social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

IndustriALL Global Union wants trade unionists and trade unions to sign up to their Thunderclap message on precarious work. The message is due to go out on 7 October, the World Day for Decent Work.

Their message reads:

"STOP Precarious Work! Defend your rights to a secure job. Join the global action on 7 October".

You can support this campaign by clicking here:


( Don’t see a link? Click on this: )

If you’ve never done this sort of thing before, you’ll see that you need to be logged into Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr (ideally, all three). And you’ll need to give the Thunderclap app permission to send out the IndustriALL message to your friends and followers at a specified day and time.

IndustriALL needs at least 250 of us to agree to go along with this. Otherwise, the Thunderclap won’t happen.

Among those who’ve already signed up are the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Trades Union Congress (UK), and LabourStart.

I’ve signed up and I hope you will too. Thank you.

Eric Lee

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

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You are receiving this message because you opted in at our website ( – most likely when you signed up to support one of our online campaigns in support of workers’ rights.
Our mailing address is:
LabourStartUnit 168, Lee Valley Technopark
Ashley Road, Tottenham
London, England N17 3LN United Kingdom

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Fast food workers arrested in US

22 Sep

On September 4, 2014 9 Rockford and Peoria the US, fast food workers were arrested engaging in civil disobedience because of commitment to do whatever it takes to win $15 and a union without retaliation.

I’ve voted. Have you?

19 Sep

Kia ora Mike —
Just a quick email from me to remind you that tomorrow is the last chance to get out and vote. If you have already please check with 3 friends or family members to see if they’ve voted – they might not know that tomorrow is the last day of voting.

All the voting places close at 7pm so make sure you get there well before then! Check online if you aren’t sure where to vote

Over half a million kiwis have voted – and I’m proud to be one of them. Here’s a photo of me voting with my son and brother today.

Happy Election Day 2014!

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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