By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director
A government media release on January 21 boasted that:
Benefit numbers continue steady yearly decline. Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people receiving a benefit is continuing to decline year on year with a 2.5 percent drop in the number of people receiving a main benefit between December 2014 and December 2015. “The number of people receiving a main benefit has fallen by almost 7,800, or 2.5 percent in the last 12 months,” Mrs Tolley says.
By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director
Today's announcement of a 50 cent increase in the minimum wage from April 1 will still mean workers unable to survive on a full-time wage and the state subsidising employers who pay low wages.
Minimum wage announcements are an entirely political process.
The minimum wage is currently about 52% of the average wage. It reached this level under Labour in 2008 and has been maintained at that level by National.
The previous National government, however, increased the minimum only once in nine years and allowed it to decline to around one-third of the average wage.
By Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union
(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)
I have avoided having a crack at Andrew Little and the Labour Party’s campaign strategy until now as I thought he deserved the right to have a bit of time to establish himself and chart his own course. Too often the left-wing critics of the major parties sound like sloganeers rather than reasoned voices and I wanted to avoid that.
Labour Party leader Andrew Little
By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union
The explosion in information available about the extent of inequality in the world naturally raises the next question – what can be done to combat it.
The right wing appears to have given up the argument that this is simply the natural order of things that we all will benefit from eventually. The ‘trickle-down’ theories have simply been demolished by life.
Global inequality returned to the news this week with the release of an updated report by Oxfam to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos for the global elite. NZ Prime Minister John Key attended Davos this year and he described the experience as “like speed dating in first class.” Trade Minister Tim Grosser accompanied Key, no doubt to the deserved accolades of his big business masters for pimping the alleged “benefits” of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. 2500 bankers, corporate moguls and politicians discussed how to rule the world.
The New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.
National Labour News
KiwiRail is so strapped for cash that some lines are in a state of “managed decline” at a time when the road transport lobby is demanding more and bigger trucks on our roads, warned the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU). RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson said numerous lines such as the Stillwater-Ngakawau, the Napier line and the Northland line are only being maintained to a standard that KiwiRail acknowledges will result in deterioration. “Discussions with KiwiRail and our union on a proposed change in the make-up of maintenance gangs led to management admitting this sorry state of affairs,” he said. Butson reported that other lines like the Wellington to Auckland North Island Main Trunk Line and the Picton to Invercargill South Island Main Trunk Line are only being cared for to a standard that will maintain their current state. “We are of the view that this is not good enough and our national railway network should be improved,” said Butson. “It beggars belief that in a modern 21st century developed economy we have a railway system that is funded in a manner that loads cost on the operator whilst the trucking industry does not pay the price for the environmental damage and congestion it causes.”
The online publication of the New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.Read more
Yesterday’s Employment Court decision should see AFFCO Talley’s Wairoa locked out workers back at work in the next two weeks, says the NZ Meat Workers Union.
“After five months of lockout and significant suffering for whanau and the small community of Wairoa, the Employment Court yesterday issued a judgement requiring the company to respect rights around seniority and re-engage these workers on the shift they would have been employed on had it not been for the Company’s misconduct” says Darien Fenton, Meat Workers Union Organising Director.
“The Court also ruled that the company is breaching section 97 of the Employment Relations Act by employing replacement workers during a lockout.
There will be large protests this Thursday against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is due to be signed at Skycity. The government is not allowing citizens to have a vote on this major change to our economy - referenda are only for flags.
Why unions oppose the TPPA.
1. It strengthens corporate power
- By giving foreign corporations in the TPPA the power to sue the New Zealand government in unaccountable offshore tribunals of corporate lawyers when their profits are threatened.
- By giving foreign corporations the right to be consulted over changes New Zealand governments want to make.
- By encouraging offshoring of production and jobs.
By Joe Carolan, Unite Organiser and Co-Ordinator of Campaign for a Living Wage - $15ph now
After five years of strikes and struggles, a million conversations at gigs, workplaces and sports events that collected a quarter of a million voters signatures for a referendum petition, which quickly won 70% approval in mainstream news polls - on Tuesday the Government finally announced it would take the minimum wage above $15 an hour.
Joe Carolan left on 2009 picket to launch the campaign.Read more