Unite Union Executive Board Member Moniqua Reid reporting from the People's Climate March in Christchurch.
Christchurch Climate Parade Play “Earthy Earth & the Forces of Doom”
April the 29th brought together workers, students, various organizations and environmental groups around the world to make it clear that climate change needs action now and that the people want a sustainable future with sustainable energy. This day is known for the People’s Climate Marches around the world, which have spread from the United States as people from all walks of life continue the fight for climate justice.
The first People's Climate March was created in 2014 as 400,000 strong marched through the streets of New York City demanding urgent action for our global climate crisis on the eve of the 21st annual UN Climate Summit in Paris. Unite union members also marched for climate justice on the People's Climate Marches in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. This UN Climate Negotiations meeting in Paris was attended by Unite union official Gary Cranston who pushed for a "Just Transition" for workers and their communities, which was eventually included in the text of the agreement. Since then many commentators believe these global marches to be one of the key instigators that bought about the Paris Agreement. At this point in time the Paris Agreement is the most comprehensive global agreement to address climate change, although it is woefully inadequate when it comes to detailing fair and effective actions that will actually deal with the problem.
Christchurch and Taranaki had events planned for the worldwide march. Christchurch had a parade organised with key speakers in Cathedral Square and a play created by Simon Brown - "Earthy Earth and the Forces of Doom", the play followed Earthy Earth on a downward spiral after being convinced to try a ‘hit’ of CO2 and Methane from Dirty Fossil Man and his acquaintance, Stinky Cow. This was closely followed by a march led by Earthy Earth and her saviours, The Eco Kids, Eco Nurses and Eco Warrior. There was an estimated 600 people marching around the Christchurch CBD with amazing placards, my personal favourite being a polar bear flipping everyone off.
Nicole and I were out in force for the climate parade in Christchurch to take a stance against climate injustice and to demand actual concrete change towards a more sustainable future. Climate change is one of those issues that you can’t immediately see the results from, it’s slow moving but it is incredibly important for young individuals and the working class to create noise for the world in which we live fairly and sustainably in. If every person made a change in their own lives as small as recycling, car-sharing to work, reducing individual beef intake or buying more products packaged in cardboard or glass rather than plastic, then this would make a great start!
Links to further reading:
Unionists and other progressive minded people need to put a stake in the ground in opposition to the latest immigration proposals from the government.
Meeting, 6pm, Monday, May 1, Unitarian Church, 1a Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland City.
The government changes to the immigration rules are creating a great deal of misery for many workers and students in this country from overseas who have come under different rules and have had their hopes and dreams for the future dashed.
April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, a day we remember those who have been killed at work.
This is a particularly apt moment to mark this occasion given that seven people have died in workplace accidents in the past fortnight.
Here is a list of at least some of the events planned for around the country.
Attached is some more detail, by region and industry, of workplace deaths.
Silent vigil at Parliament by Pike River families concerned at workplace deaths, July 2015Read more
Why is it So Awesome?
Imagine you’re that person at your at who ends up doing all the dishes ALL the time! But no one really notices it or appreciates it!
By stopping doing the dishes you show your lazy at mates that it’s not a magical fairy that cleans them all over night... it’s YOU! This is strike action.
When you work for Restaurant Brands you make the company heaps of $$$ but you don’t see much of it. The made $26 million in profit last year and paid the CEO a $1 million bonus recently. By stopping work for a while you remind RBL who really makes the company so profitable ... YOU!
You won’t be paid for the time you are on strike but you’re doing it to make a point. And it’s worth it remember? A lot of the pay and conditions you have now were won by workers taking strike action in the past.
It is legal to take strike action when you are in a union and bargaining for better pay. And it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive the first time but like anything, you’ll get the hang of it! Strike action is about making people appreciate what you do!
Who can participate in a strike?
All union members who are covered by the Collective Bargaining are entitled to strike. This time it includes both waged and salaried members of Unite. If you are not a union member join! Or you will need to work as normal.
KFC, Pizza Hut, Carls Jr and Starbucks workers will strike tomorrow after negotiations broke down over a new collective agreement.
“Yesterday Restaurant Brands announced profits of $26 million and they have paid their CEO a million dollar bonus. Tomorrow the workers who actually make and sell their products have to go on strike to get a few cents above the minimum wage” said Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir.
“This is a stark example of the growing gap between rich and poor and Unite Union members at Restaurant Brands are taking action to close the gap a little bit. While Restaurant Brands have been paying huge bonuses and dividends and buying up large overseas, their workers are overworked and underpaid"
Restaurant Brands has rejected a very modest proposal from the union for a rise of 10 cents and hour each year over three years above the minimum wage movement for the lowest paid workers. This will take to take their pay to 30 cents an hour above the minimum wage by 2019.
The union also wants Shift Supervisors, skilled and experienced staff who are able to run stores on their own, to get increases over three years that will move them towards a Living Wage.
“These are not school kids. They are qualified and experienced workers who can run a store on their own: managing staff, managing a retail store and a food production facility. They deserve a Living Wage and Restaurant Brands can afford to pay them a Living Wage”
Enclosed is the latest edition of your New Zealand Labour Letter. The online publication of the New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.
National Labour News
More than 95 per cent of 1433 IDEA Services support workers voted to walk off the job in protest of stagnant pay talks. E tū union has been negotiating with IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC New Zealand, for two new collective employment agreements since October last year. The strike vote was prompted by a March 23rd announcement of planned service cuts by IDEA Services that would affect about five per cent of the disability support staff. E tū advocate Alastair Duncan said IDEA Services needs "to take this vote seriously" as it showed growing anxiety and concern amongst staff. "Support workers at IDEA do a caring and professional job of supporting New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities. Sadly, they have had little support from their employer," Duncan said.Read more