Workers stand up for their rights, Nats still evasive

Written By: - Date published: 4:04 pm, August 1st, 2008 - 48 comments
Categories: national, wages, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The EPMU launched its ‘Work Rights Wage Drive’ today with a rally in Christchurch. Despite the rain, over 1500 Kiwi workers turned out to stand up for their work rights and wages. This is just the first of 25 rallies the EPMU will be undertaking this month, in what will easily be the biggest series of public demonstrations in years.

In conjunction with the Wage Drive, the EPMU has launched its Work Rights Checklist, a point by point account of what parties need to include in their work rights policies if they are to make Kiwis more secure in their work and help boost wages. It’s a substantive yet accessible document, condensing a lot of info into two pages. Well worth a read and a comparison with National’s workplace policy.

Speaking of which, Ben Thomas of NBR has followed up on the ambiguity in National’s policy over union access – in the press release, National seemed to say unions would remain able to access work-sites unless there was good reason to deny them; in the policy paper, it said access would be at employers’ discretion. It’s a pretty important issue, without site access unions are severely weakened.

Kate Wilkinson, National’s Labour spokesperson who hasn’t yet delivered a speech or press conference on her party’s policy, told Thomas that ‘she ‘doesn’t envisage’ that the actual wording of the provisions of the act around union access will be changed.’ From which, I think it’s safe to say, all we can conclude is that National’s wannabe Minister of Labour is completely out of the loop on National’s work rights policy.

The Nats may not have a clue but it is clear from the Christchurch rally that Kiwi workers know what they want: stronger work rights, leading to higher wages.

48 comments on “Workers stand up for their rights, Nats still evasive”

  1. 1500 people turned up?

    Ya having a laugh?

    It doesn’t help your cause, when you make up a figure.

  2. 1500 ? Don’t you mean 15 ! Your photo has blue sky in it. Where is the blue sky in Christchurch? Liars.

    [lprent: It is a stock photo of a union rally. It has been used many times before in this site. It is a ‘type’ graphic, like my dolphin. ]

  3. Patrick 3

    Were either of you there?

  4. Daveo 4

    Brett, D4J – pathetic.

    From Fairfax’s BusinessDay.co.nz:

    “About 1,500 unionists attended the first of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s planned 25 Work Rights Wage Drive rallies in Christchurch today.”

    http://www.businessday.co.nz/industries/4639899

  5. Daveo 5

    Patrick – of course they weren’t. Some of my mates from the Servos were though and they reckoned well over 1000, if that figure’s being backed by the tory press I’m inclined to believe them.

    (Unless of course anyone has a reason why I should take the word of Brett Dale and Dad4Justice instead.)

  6. DaveCo; Ok, you got me on the numbers, but that photo wasn’t taken in Christchurch today.

    Edit – just read Iprent’s interpretation of the photo. Comment retracted and I’m a Union Man and say what I f##king well think !!

  7. Do you know how they get rallies for these numbers?

    Well its basically a guessing game, Normally its done by someone in the media asking the police who are there how many people have turned up and of course the people leading the rally asks the police to up the number.

    Heck i remember when that no talent girl band, “Bardot”, did a free concert in catherdal square several years ago, the so called media, said 10 thousand people turned up, when in fact there would be about 500 people.

    By the way are there any actual shots from todays rally?

  8. Daveo 8

    Brett, stop embarrassing yourself.

  9. Ben R 9

    “Brett, stop embarrassing yourself.”

    Hey, it’s Friday. Be nice. Also, he’s totally correct. Bardot did suck.

  10. Felix 10

    So Brett, did you, enjoy, the Bardot, concert?

    btw who are the “the so called media”?

  11. Daveo: thats a solid argument.

    Seriously about a couple of weeks ago, there was an item on the web about how crowds figures get boosted by the media. They used a series of Central park concerts, saying that the media always asked the police, how many people turned up, and the police would go back to the promoters, who would basically tell the police, “Just give them a higher number than the previous concert.

    Thus concerts by sting, Bon Jovi got boosted by some fuzzy math.

    Although when Paul Simon filled out the whole North Meadow, and Garth Brooks did the same in 1997, the estimates for those concerts were probably on the money.

    But Take a look at the old days here, they use to say, 60-70 thousand people use to cram into Lancaster park (AMI stadium) ,their wasn’t even a stand there back then!!!)

    The liberal media just give a huge number, because they know people will think they are part of something special, if they think a lot of people were there.

    Please provide photographic evidence of this march.

  12. Actually I was trying to get home from work (you know something that us big bad right wingers do) I wasn’t listening to that girly band.

    The so called media is the NZ media in general, just turn on the news at night or listen to the radio, its a sad indictment on Journalism in this country, no matter what part of the media we are talking about, Political, sports, music, we must have the worst in the world, because they never report the stats or hard data or the science, they just prey on peoples feeling.

    That lady who didnt pay her power bill, that scum who the tried to murder the policeman with a baseball bat, how certain achievements by kiwis never get coverage.

    How media is the lowest of the low, and Marion Hobbs cannot wash her hands of this.

  13. Daveo 13

    Brett – Sometimes crowd figures get boosted by media but in my experience it’s usually the opposite with union rallies. I’ve never been to a union rally that didn’t have its turnout grossly underreported. On the reports I’ve heard 1500 seems pretty accurate, and you’ve offered nothing to suggest it isn’t.

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    Brett, if you’re really concerned, here’s what you do. Take the number given, and provide whatever formula you see fit to find the real number. Here, you’ll notice it all breaks down when comparing these rallies to the EFB rallies, because some numbers just ain’t divisible.

    What are you worried about? That people care about work rights? That quite a few do? They have good reason to, you know…

    If you think every rally number is doubled then you can keep that number in your head – but is will be proportional to any other rally, and not really mean a damn in the end!

  15. If there is photos of the rally or video footage, then I could tell you, but until I see some still pics or footage, I would take any crowd number with a grain of salt.

  16. Sarah 16

    This blog is so over-the-top and blatantly anti-national that no one (apart from your occasional estranged worker) can actually take it seriously. You have no sort of evidence that details that National intends to hurt workers’ rights, yet you still come to conclusions like “the Nats don’t have a clue.”

    Even if National was to release a good policy from your perspective, you would still pull it down, find something else inane to complain and wine over, before coming to another drawn out, fraudulent and biased conclusion.

    Where is the fair and balanced within that?

    [lprent: You appear to think that we should be fair and balanced? Why? We aren’t a news site, we are a commentary site. Please read our About to find out what our likely viewpoints are going to be. ]

  17. Quoth the Raven 17

    MP – What is Brett worried about? The workers of course members of the lower classes should not be allowed to freely associate with one another only the bosses are allowed to do that.

  18. Benodic 18

    Sarah if you’re a regular reader then you’ll have seen the series of posts on National’s history on wages and on how National’s policies will impact negatively on workers.

    “I think you say bad things about National and I like National so I don’t like you” isn’t an argument, it’s a signal to the rest of us you’re a partisan hack.

  19. outofbed 19

    “Even if National was to release a good policy from your perspective,?
    what like keeping
    WFF,
    KIWISAVER,
    KIWIRAIL,
    KIWIBANK,
    FREE EARLY CHILDHOOD,
    ANTI NUCLEAR,
    NO AIRFORCE STRIKE FORCE,
    INTEREST FREE STUDENTS LOANS,
    CAPPING GP FEES
    KYOTO
    NOT INVADING RANDOM MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES ?
    NOT SELLING STATE OWN ENTERPRISES
    (there are probably more)
    I think a lot of people on this site would agree with many of these policy releases I say good on them

  20. Anita 20

    outofbed,

    I must’ve missed it – what’s National’s policy on GP fees?

  21. randal 21

    $2,500,000 if we are going to buy a nuclear aircraft carrier and a coouple of squadrons of the new tfx navy fighter and other support aircraft and personnel….yahooooo

  22. Scribe 22

    Despite the rain, over 1500 Kiwi workers turned out to stand up for their work rights and wages. This is just the first of 25 rallies the EPMU will be undertaking this month, in what will easily be the biggest series of public demonstrations in years.

    That’s an impressive turnout. Were these people who happened to have the day off work? Or did they leave work to participate in the rally?

  23. Felix 23

    Brett,

    I was just kidding about Bardot 😉

    Btw I agree with just about everything you wrote about the media in NZ – and of course it’s not just in NZ either. News that’s carefully packaged to appeal to our emotions (and not usually our higher ones) does no-one any good in my opinion.

    Most of our “news” has all the integrity of the average gossip mag. Maybe less actually – at least gossip mags don’t pretend to be serious news filters.

  24. outofbed 24

    They wemt back on the policy after thier disasterrous health policy release when it was found out that they were going to remove the cap on gp fees
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0709/S00531.htm

  25. Felix 25

    oob / Anita: I missed that one too. It’s not even surprising any more though.

  26. Anita 27

    Hm… so from those two links it seems that National has agreed to keep a capping mechanism, but not to maintain the same level of subsidy. So they could still remove the fee subsidies for adults, the elderly or children.

    Also no commitment to the current higher prescription subsidy.

    One of the most visible Labour initiated changes for me has been the massive reduction in health costs – GP visits for me are less than half the old cost, prescription items only 20% of the old cost.

    To be honest the Health policy has been one of the National ones I’ve been really waiting for – I’m expecting quite a lot of change.

  27. Felix 28

    Well don’t expect much change back when you pay your doctor’s bill under National!

    Thanks you’re a great crowd, I’ll be here all week…

  28. Sarah 29

    Do you not realise that John Key presents a different national party to the national parties of the past and that his policies don’t necessarily reflect the policies of national in the past? I think you will that is an argumentative fallacy. The only way you can suggest his policies are the same is if you find evidence within his policies that are similar to policies of the past. I think you will find many policies take on a different tact to what other National Party’s have put forward in the past.

    At the same time, John Key’s committment for tax cuts should be pleasing to most workers in the community as it will give them the monetary aid necessary to get ahead and work for themselves.

    Calling me a “partisan hack” is not only rude and insensitive but also cruel and demeaning. Benodic, considering I am not even right wing (more centralist to be exact) I have no allegiances to the national party whatsoever. I actually consider John Key to be a sleaze, indecisive and a liar. But I still think each policy should be judged on it’s credentials, which does not make me a “partisan hack” as you like to say, rather an intelligent and reasonable individual.

    And to your comment that this blog is a commentary, I still believe that even a commentary should come to conclusions that are reasonable to the evidence that is given. This particular post does not achieve this, and as a well-thought-about Progressive member, I would consider future blogs to take this into account.

  29. Pascal's bookie 31

    Sarah. You seem nice. Very reasonable. Not like a troll. I’m sure your concern about the writing style of the post is genuine.

    Why should I take Key at face value though? You yourself consider him to be a sleazy indecisive liar, so that would count to me as a point against accepting his assurances at face value. No?

    Seems like not that long ago, he was saying that many of the policies he now endorses, were communism by stealth. That’s quite a turnaround don’t you think? Or has he converted to communism per chance? In any case he hasn’t really explained his change of heart. And if the National party has converted to communism, I think Key owes it to the people to let us know. A lot of people don’t like communism Sarah, and would feel aggrieved should they unwittingly vote for the new communist version of the National Party.

    He may not be a communist though, perhaps when he was calling all those things communism by stealth, he was confused and meant Centralism. Whatever that may be. Or Australia. Or something. It’s hard to tell, because like you say he’s such a sleazy lying jellyfish.

    I also seem to recall that one of the old “National Parties” that was not led by the ‘centralist’ Mr Key, was led by a Don Brash. A gentleman many felt was an actual right winger, as these things are determined. Funny thing is that this actual right wing National party that existed, oh like, ages ago, had pretty much all of the same people in it that this current fuzzy puppy centralist (possibly communist) one does. It’s all very strange. But it get’s weirder Sarah.

    The right wing Don Brash, who I’m sure you disliked what with you being a centralist and all, picked John Key to be his Finance Spokesman! Like I said, weird! What was he thinking? I mean Finance is a pretty important gig. Especially for right wingers of the Brashist faction. And he picked Key who is a total centralist type apparently (though we should not forget he also stands accused of being a lying sleaze artist, and by his own admission may have possible communist leanings.)

    It’s almost like we are not getting the full picture with all of this highly detailed policy that the new National party, is feeding us.

    Why, I can’t hardly throw my piss pot out of the window without it hitting in the face some earnest young National party staffer with a wheel barrow full of solidly reasoned policy detail.

    Actually no, that’s not right is it? They are bloody miserly with policy. Even their spokespeople don’t get to see them.

    So, why on earth would you object to people engaging in a bit of speculation about what the National party is up to?

    And what evidence do you have to convince me that I should just accept all things at face value? That sounds like a stupid plan to me. No offence.

    All of a sudden the criticisms that are turning up are of the “why did you write this post in that way, if you’d written it another why, I may have liked it more” variety.

    I just don’t get why someone would bother saying that.

    ‘night all.

  30. Felix 32

    Hi Sarah, welcome to the internet.

    All of National’s policy releases have been dissected, scrutinized, and surgically examined in minute detail by the posters and commentors here. Perhaps you might like to have a browse through the archives and get some grasp of what’s already been discussed?

    Well said Sarah.

    Probably not a good portent…

  31. Razorlight 33

    I agree Sarah.

    Key is not Bolger. His National party is not the party of the 90’s. Is that so difficult to understand.

  32. Felix 34

    Except for English, Brownlee, McCully, Smith, the other Smith, Ryall, Carter, Roy, Williamson, Simich, Mapp… I’m sure there are more but gee, that’s just about the whole front bench already isn’t it?

    Not the party of the 90s? Yeah right.

  33. rave 35

    But . . . what about the EPMU challenge to the ‘parties’?
    Idea is good buts lack a bit of bite.
    Calls for decency, fairness and respect from the employers, and equal partnership to share the productivity.
    Key could agree to all this in one of his slippery moments.
    Needs some devlish detail I think.
    “Maximum hours’ WTF. Needs 38 hour week, overtime back.
    Respect union rights? Fat chance. Needs no bosses unions.
    Fair wages? Pull the other one. Needs wages inflation proofed.
    If they say “Close the gap with Australia” they should mean it.
    Needs some actual teeth to bite both Labour and National’s bum on work rights.
    Meanwhile up the road in Foxton a Scoop item ‘Tears flow in Foxton’
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0808/S00015.htm
    gets sentimental over the loss of jobs at the Feltex plant. Pictures a very moving closing ceremony by the workers, former workers and local school children, and ends on the note “Though its a sad day, your children have shown us that the future is bright”. That’ll be the day.
    The plant is now up for sale. Workers, former workers and kids should take it over as a permanent social centre that also makes carpets.
    The NDU as another likely ‘3rd party’ should put that proposal to Helen Clark and John Key.

  34. Leftie 36

    So lets see… I work one hour of overtime everyday. I shouldn’t be concerned that if I am on leave for a day, I won’t get paid this one hour overtime under a National Government anymore?

    Key has so far got NOTHING to offer workers in this country, except a kick in the guts.

  35. higherstandard 37

    Leftie

    No you shouldn’t be concerned.

  36. Do you not realise that John Key presents a different national party to the national parties of the past and that his policies don’t necessarily reflect the policies of national in the past?

    What evidence is there to suggest such? It was less than three years ago that then National Party leader Don Brash was about to embark on Ruthenasia v2. A party which, as its finance spokesperson, John Key was privy to, and personally endorsed.

    Sarah, until National strongly repudiates the policies of Ruth Richardson, of which many of its 2008 front bench were in caucus at the time, then voters are right to be cautious. Labour rightly repudiated Rogernomics as a policy platform post 1993.

    This is the question that journalists should be asking – “Does National now repudiate the policy platform of the 1990s, and 2005 as harsh and negligent?”

  37. Gustavo Trellis 39

    I think most people would be happy if John Key stood for something else. But it’s not really about him. Money talks, and policy listens. You could put Helen at the forefront of the Nats and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.

    As a potential Nat voter, I’m saddened that John Key wasn’t the start of a new era for the Nats. I was hoping for think big, public works and infrastructure overhaul. Instead, they seem bent on cutting up what little pie we have. Invest in infrastructure, more jobs and put wages up at the same time you make life cheaper for everyone else. No one seems to support this philosophy, maybe I’m just a dinosaur.

  38. Sarah 40

    As for Working for Families, there is a legitimate reason as to his change in tact.

    When said comments were made referring to his anti-working for family stance, the economic climate was fast approaching its best position in years, and working for families was not as neccessary as labour put it out to be.

    However, in the previous six months, the economic climate has deterioated to a point where as most reasonable people can agree most families are struggling to make ends meet. For John Key to remove working for families now would be absolutely riduculous, considering it would put most of these families in jeopardy. No reasonable politician who cares about the livelihoods of the people he is elected to look after would remove this necessary financial aid now.

    And to your point felix, since John Key has control of leadership of the party, the views of his subordinates are most likely not the views going to be put forward in the primary policies. Ever since John Key came into power, in the first week to be exact, he has taken a far more centralist stance. However if you can find substantial evidence in his policies that dictates otherwise, then I will have to change my tune.

  39. Felix 41

    Sarah you either have no idea how political parties operate or you’re being deliberately obtuse.

    The idea that Key – a man with zero political experience and until recently no apparent interest in politics – is actually in control of a bunch of the most battle-hardened politically savvy players and operatives in the country is one of the most absurd and ridiculous ideas I’ve heard put forward anywhere this year.

    You’ve apparently not read any of the Nat’s “policy releases” and you don’t seem to care what’s in them as long as that nice Mr. Key tells you he’s “centrist”.

    You’re either dreaming or lying and I don’t care which. You make me laugh. And then cry a little.

  40. Anita 42

    Sarah,

    Two quick points

    1) Key is leader because caucus voted him in. That was the exact same caucus that Brash led – do you really think caucus radically changed what they wanted?

    2) When Brash started as leader he spend a lot of time telling us he was centrist – he wasn’t. Why should we believe it when Key and his mates tell us?

  41. Matthew Pilott 43

    Sarah, you’re asking for the impossible here… “Ever since John Key came into power, in the first week to be exact, he has taken a far more centralist stance. However if you can find substantial evidence in his policies that dictates otherwise, then I will have to change my tune.

    To find substantial evidence in National policy, we’d have to have substantial policy.

    That’s so far from the case these days that even the “I Heart John Key” section of the media are getting sick of it.

    I see it as a deliberate ploy to release as little policy as possible before the election, because they have not changed a bit from the 90’s, and are pulling the wool over people’s eyes with a dead-rat swallowing fest (of damn good Labour policy) led by the guy with the nice smile.

    Let me ask you a question, if I may. What evidence, apart from some nice platitudes, Key’s smile and the wholesale adoption of Labour policy, have you seen that makes you think National have moved on from the 90’s? As I see it, they’re either bereft of ides and Labour Lite (why vote for that?), or they’re hiding everything they have, which leads to the obvious conclusion that whatever they want to so wil go down poorly with the electorate.

    How have you avoided those conclusions?

  42. Matthew Pilott 44

    That last line was terribly proofed…

    “…which leads to the obvious conclusion that whatever they want to do will go down poorly with the electorate.”

  43. “terribly proofed”

    Haha – only on the standard. You should employ a poof reader like I do Miss Pilott or should I say Matthew pillock??

  44. Matthew Pilott 46

    Keep it real, D4J. How is the flooding going?

  45. The rain has stopped and the Bat Cave is finally dry today thank you Matthew. Mr Henry has gone fishing , Richie flew away in a glider and the pretty pin up boy wonder Dan the man done another underpants add for the TV girls.
    Talk about a BIG WET in feminist New Zealand mate.
    Would a Real bloke PLEASE STAND UP?

  46. Paul Robeson 48

    Sarah,

    John Key is not a centerist by nature, he is a centerist by necessity. He would have happily been Don Brashs’ finance minister. To quote Mr Armstrong from the Herald he will do “whatever it takes” to get into power. Presenting a less alarming face to the National party is one of these.

    However, perhaps you could tell me how you view these two things. First ACC. This is a system that has benefitted New Zealanders enormously, and kept the litigious society of ambulance chasers at bay. Reports agree changing it would not benefit New Zealand.

    Mr Key will do this, opening the market to Australian insurance companies. The policy was released, not by National party choice, but because of an embarrassing statement in a report by an Australian insurance company lining up for this New Zealand business.

    Another thing is increasing borrowing to allow larger government expenditure, but then pretending that offering large tax cuts play no part in the borrowing. It is like saying I’m getting Sky Tv, but I’m not borrowing money for that, only for the milk and veges.

    He’s just not as nice as his image, and nor are his chums.

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