Workers voice, a program presented and produced by Unite Union. Bringing you the latest info on workers rights, news, interviews and union culture. Listen every Saturday at 10.45am, or online anytime at planetaudio.org.nz/WorkersVoice
The first show this Labour Weekend features an interview with Unite National Director Mike Treen on the origins of Labour Day and whether it has any relevance anymore.
The 2015 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report puts worldwide wealth inequality at a level "possibly not seen for almost a century," the researchers write. The data also reveals a declining middle class and that the poorest half of the world's population owns just one percent of its assets. Meanwhile, the number of "ultra-wealthy" people continues to climb.
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This is the fourth (and final) blog of a series based on a speech to a conference sponsored by the Child Poverty Action Group looking at work and welfare in the 21st century. (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3). It has been reprinted from The Daily Blog.
Last week I discussed how the casualisation of work was fundamentally a product of the weakening of working class organisation (and struggle) over recent decades rather than being the inevitable result of new technology.
However, we need to have a strategy for dealing with technological change so that it is not used to further reduce the rights of working people.
Simply opposing technological change doesn't work, as “the Luddites” discovered 200 years ago - although the truth of their struggle may not have been as anti-technology as it is popularly remembered.
Will robots take over all jobs?
There is a real debate over the possibility that robots will take all our jobs. That may be the case in some future society, but I have doubts that this is remotely possible under capitalism.
By Sandra Conchie
Bay Of Plenty Times, September 30
An Affco cleaner impaled through the head with a mutton-spreader hook says he still has nightmares about the workplace accident which left him with life-changing injuries.
Jason Jerry Matahiki, 43, who was giving evidence during a judge-alone prosecution hearing which began in Tauranga District Court yesterday, said he was part of night-shift cleaning crew working in the head-off machine area of the mutton room on August 19 last year.
The head-off area and row of spreader hooks on a chain in the mutton processing room at Rangiuru meat processing plant where Jason Matahiki was impaled on August 19, 2014.
This is the third of a series of articles based on a speech to a conference sponsored by the Child Poverty Action Group looking at work and welfare in the 21st century. (Part 1; Part 2). It has been reprinted from The Daily Blog.
By Mike Treen, Unite National Director
New technology is often blamed for the casualisation of work that has occurred and that the continued spread of robots and the new software behind app-based labour control like Uber is a major factor behind future threats to secure work.
It is true that new technology was an important aspect of changes to labour processes in recent decades. For example, computerisation and specialised software have been developed for just-in-time inventories but also just-in-time workers. New industries developed to take advantage of this flexibility. Specialised call centres and the rapidly growing fast food industry moved quickly to use zero-hour contracts. Even a 24/7 operation with thousands of staff like the Casino preferred staff on part time contracts with the bare minimum of hours.Read more
By Kay Brereton, Independent Benefit Advocate
This is not just about people’s benefits starting a day late, this is about a Ministry and the Minister finding out they have not been administering the law correctly, and continuing for 16 months and counting, a practice they know doesn’t comply with the law; and now seeking to cover up and fix all this by passing retrospective legislation going back 18 years.
Tuesday, 29 September 2015, 2:17 pm
Press Release: NZCTU
The government may not be concerned about workers not getting a fair share, but workers themselves certainly are, the Council of Trade Unions said today.
Finance Minister Bill English was today reported as being unconcerned about a Westpac McDermott Miller employment confidence survey that showed the proportion of respondents expecting a wage increase over the coming year is at its lowest level since the survey began in 2004.
“If the state of wages in New Zealand was acceptable, we wouldn’t have seen the need for the Living Wage movement, which is mobilising communities in support of pay rates that allow people to fully participate in society,” CTU secretary Sam Huggard said.
“If pay and job security was okay, we wouldn’t have seen a significant campaign earlier this year in fast food to get rid of zero hours contracts and to provide more reliable work in the major chains.”
“And if women weren’t being discriminated against on the basis of gender, we wouldn’t be seeing growing momentum around the push for equal pay, including an historic court case about the underpayment of workers in aged care.”
“The government can ill afford to be complacent about pay in New Zealand. Is this as good as it gets? Workers have seen little from the so-called recovery translating into wage rises, and now the economy is losing steam.”
“There is plenty more the government could be doing, both as an employer of public sector workers who are due a catch up, and also in helping to lift wages in the private sector, by lifting the minimum wage, fixing migration so that it’s not used to hold wages down, and stopping putting more and more barriers in the way of collective bargaining,” Sam Huggard said.
For further comment:
Sam Huggard, CTU Secretary, on 021 462 148.
CTU Secretary Sam Huggard
Tuesday, 29 September 2015, 2:17 pm
Press Release: NZCTU