Labour Letter, October 2016

National Labour News

Airline unions expressed deep concern and shock over a series of recent laser strikes targeting flights near Auckland and Wellington airports. "We need to deal with the issue and we need to deal with it strongly" said the Airline Pilots' Association's, Tim Robinson. The flight attendants' union, E tū, condemned the act as “irresponsible and potentially lethal.” According to news reports, the strikes affected several international flights into Auckland September 30, as well as an Air New Zealand plane heading into Wellington the previous night. Helicopter pilots also reported being struck by a laser from the area, other media reported. The pilots in the Wellington incident were temporarily blinded, and though they landed safely, “the outcome could have been catastrophic,” said E tū's Director of Organising Aviation, Kelvin Ellis in a statement. “These strikes put everyone at risk, including the pilots, flight attendants and the general public”, said Kelvin. All landings are the most stressful time for flight crews, Kelvin explained, and landing at Wellington is “stressful enough without the risk of a laser strike.”

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McDonald's and BK are zero-hour cheats!

Restaurant Brands and Unite Union have amended their collective agreement to have workers' hours and shifts guaranteed permanently.
Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir says that this is a massive win for workers.
For the first time in decades workers in the fast food industry in New Zealand will have their shifts fixed permanently. No longer will their pay vary from week to week. As shifts become available, which happens frequently with staff turnover, workers will be able to build up their hours to the maximum they want to work each week. 
The passage of the law to ban zero hours contracts in New Zealand set the stage for this change to the negotiated. 
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Working people win another AFFCO legal action

Media release: Meat Workers Union

The Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal by AFFCO New Zealand Ltd against an Employment Court decision that AFFCO had unlawfully locked out members of the Meat Workers Union.

“Both the Employment Court and now the Court of Appeal have held that our members we’re unlawfully locked out by AFFCO. That judgment is a major step forward in advancing and protecting meat workers’ collective bargaining rights,” says Graham Cooke National Secretary of the Meat Workers’ Union (MWU).

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Workers involved in the Affco court hearings

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TPP protestor police dragged by the hair calls for changes to police misconduct investigations

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Unite Dunedin organiser Olive Mcrae being dragged by hair during anti-TPP protest
By Chelsea Daniels
(Reprinted from Newstalk ZB)
A Dunedin protester who was dragged by the hair by a police officer is calling for better investigations into police misconduct. 

Unite Union organiser Olive McRae was in Auckland taking part in a mass protest against the signing of the TPPA in February when the incident occurred.

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Government sets Tasers to stun for Migrant students

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By Joe Carolan, Unite Union Organiser

The decision to deploy Police armed with Tasers against vulnerable Migrant Workers and students last night, and to physically bar migrants from what was billed as a public meeting with National 's "Indian community" MP,  tells you everything you need to know about their true nature behind the liberal show.  The "go back home to where you came from" comments from the rich old white Nats might have been a dead giveaway, however. 

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Auckland worker crushed to death by pallets

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A police spokeswoman said a man had become trapped under pallets and died at the scene (Newshub.)

Reprinted from Newshub

A person has died after a stack of pallets fell on them at a workplace in the Auckland suburb of Penrose.

The incident happened at Toll Logistics on Neilson Street around 11:30am.

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Wage theft revealed - $35 million and counting!

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Official information request reveals tip of the holiday pay iceberg

The Council of Trade Unions has received a response to an official information request revealing that at least $35 million has been paid in outstanding holiday paid to working Kiwis in 25 identified organisations.

“We know that this information is the tip of the iceberg," said CTU President Richard Wagstaff, "and that the government agency who is responsible for making sure employers stick to the law, simply doesn’t have the resourcing to identify all of the working people who haven’t been paid what they are due.

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Labour Letter - September 2016

National Labour News

Unions, community groups and activists held a Day of Action on Saturday, September 10 to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Thousands of New Zealanders marched and protested against the proposed trade deal in dozens of events held across the country. Anti-TPP demonstrations were held in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Hokianga, Whangarei, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson and other communities. Among the groups supporting the action were the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Public Services Association, FIRST Union, Greenpeace, 350.org, Oxfam New Zealand and SAFE for Animals. "This is a time when families are struggling with high housing costs, insecure work and stagnant wages. The gaps between the have and have-nots are widening in our society," co-ordinator, Barry Coates said. According to the organisers, the purpose of the event was a need to "join the dots" between many issues and “reclaim democratic rights” for citizens and national sovereignty. Critics charge the trade proposal gives corporations too much power and undermines jobs. Labour, Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party have announced their opposition to the agreement.

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Christchurch protest September 10

 

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Fired-up fast-food worker (and Unite delegate) proves he’s no chicken

Letter to the Editor of the ODT by Olive McRae, Unite Organiser, Dunedin

Dear editor, 
While it may be news to the general public that David Cannon is a fast thinking health and safety know-how employee at Roslyn KFC, what the public may not know is that Mr Cannon is also a very strong delegate for Unite Union and dedicates a fair amount of time making sure that work conditions are safe and fair for all. Unite are very proud of Mr Cannon, everyday, including days that he goes that extra mile for safety of not only his work mates, but the public as well. 
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Fire takes hold in a Go Bus Transport bus in Stuart St

By Shawn McAvinue

(Reprinted from the Otago Daily Times)

A quick-thinking fast-food worker extinguished a bus fire in Dunedin yesterday.

KFC Roslyn team member Dave Cannon said he went to the restaurant for a meal before his night shift started.

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Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: the truth about the “rock star economy”

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The business media is all in an excited state over the fact that the headline growth rate for the New Zealand economy is at 3.6% for the year ending June.

What they don't tell you is that because of the artificial boost to the population as a result of the government opening the taps for new migrants the actual annual per capita growth rate is only 0.7%.

"We are seeing low-quality growth in what New Zealand produces," says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg commenting on the June GDP growth statistics released today. "Not all growth is equal."

"Much of the growth is driven by the rising population, with high net immigration. Per person, GDP rose only 0.7% over the year - well below the 1.6% per year average since 2012 (after the recession ended), and far below the 2.6% per year average from 2000 to 2007, before the recession began.

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