On John Key’s recent poverty shaming: low wage workers are not “lazy” or “drug addicts”
By Chloe King, Unite volunteer and young writer
In a recent Radio New Zealand interview, Prime Minister John Key shamed low waged workers calling them, “drug addicts” and inferring they are “lazy.” Okay, I am one of the hundreds of thousands of low waged workers in this country and I feel devastated by his comments which also included stating we, the lazy and low waged workers, have no work ethic. Key is using these reasons to justify bringing in record numbers of migrant workers into New Zealand, to take up roles in work considered unskilled like fruit picking, hairdressing, labouring, baking, driving trucks, managing cafes and working in hospitality. As Key, told Radio New Zealand reporter Jesse Mulligan, “they [New Zealand’s unemployed] just can't muster what is required to actually work."
Using your Annual Leave to top up your income? Here’s why you should think twice.
By Shanna Reeder, Unite Hotels Organiser
A quick poll on the Unite Hotel Workers facebook page revealed 21 out of 26 Hotel workers have used Annual Leave to top up their weekly pay.
This is common practice in hotels in New Zealand, more so than in other industries.Read more
By Anu Kaloti, Migrant Workers Association
Recently over 150 international students from India were issued deportation orders by Immigration New Zealand for the use of forged financial documents. The students had made all payments as advised by agents and were not aware of the fraud being committed by the agents on their behalf. By deporting the students the NZ government would be punishing the victims rather than the culprits.
A peaceful protest was held in support of the students on Saturday, September 3, outside National list MP Dr Paramjeet Parmar’s office in Mt Roskill, Auckland. This protest was organised by Migrant Workers Association and supported by Socialist Aotearoa, Unite Union, First Union, Etu, Unimeg and IMWA.
Chants of “We want Justice” and “We are not cheaters” could be heard as protesters marched along Stoddard Road. The protesters demanded that the deportation orders be withdrawn and the students allowed to stay and complete their education in New Zealand.
NOT OUR FAULT - Justice for Indian Students - a short film by RJ Roopam - please share far and wide.
Unite Union is full supporting over 150 International Indian students who are about to be deported from New Zealand because their India-based agents have used fake financial documents to get them into the country on student visas.
Some of these students are also workers and members of Unite Union says Unite National Director Mike Treen.
They have been taken advantage of by greedy education providers and employers in this country. The government is also full complicit in using the students to bankroll private and public education providers in this country. The government is also deliberately creating a pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labour to be used and abused by employers in this country.
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National Labour News
E Tū charged the use of so-called “arms-length” employment is growing and labour-hire companies are exploiting workers. E Tū union organiser Shopan Dasgupta warned that many companies keep low-paid workers on insecure or sham contracts with few benefits. Some workers have even been forced to pay their own ACC levies. Dasgupta said labour-hire companies have gone from providing genuine temporary jobs to abandoning their responsibilities to offer “fair, safe and secure work.” He pledged the union would prove to companies that the workers were actually employees. "(the companies) cannot fob them off as and when you wish," he said. The challenge of monitoring workers under long-term casual contracts is a serious national issue. Last October, First Union, which represents 27,000 workers, called on Employment Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse to conduct an industry-wide investigation of labour-hire companies. Labour Party workplace relations and safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway also supports an inquiry in New Zealand’s contract employment.
Driver Kamlesh Prasad and E Tū union organiser Shopan Dasgupta claim labour-hire companies are cutting costs at workers' expense.
By Shanna Reeder, Unite Hotels Organiser
Unite Union has been approached by several former and current workers at an inner city Auckland hotel alleging wage theft by their employer.
Their employer has a long-standing relationship with a company called “In-Work.” The workers report there is a steady supply of workers being provided to the hotel from this company.
This years ECO conference saw what Jeanette Fitzsimons described as a coming together of “natural allies” with environmentalists and unions exploring the opportunities and challenges associated with realising a just transition for workers and communities here in Aotearoa.Read more
By Priyanca Radhakrishnan
(Reprinted from Indian Newslink)
A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members
– Mahatma Gandhi.
Restaurant workers paid less than $4 an hour; workers’ passports held by their employer and only returned when the media gets involved; migrant workers who work 70 hours a week but are paid only for 30 hours.
Those were just some of the stories discussed at a seminar on Indian migrant worker exploitation at which I was a speaker.
Organised by First Union and supported by the Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG), the seminar was attended by about 30 union delegates of Indian origin.Read more
By Olive McRae, Organiser in The Deep South!
Those of us that live down South know that it can get pretty cold down here. We have specific problems that I doubt workers in fast food stores in the north have.
Burger King Andy Bay is a good example.
For years workers on drive-through one, dishes, or any other tasks in the back area were left to freeze in the low, and even minus, degrees.
Workers protest outside BK in 2012. BK workers have learnt to stick together.
When Naquasia LeGrand first got involved with the Fight for $15 workers’ movement, it was, she says, “underground.” No one, least of all her, knew how far the movement would spread in the four years since she helped launch the first fast-food workers’ strike, in New York City in November 2012. New York fast-food workers won their raise in 2015, though it won’t be fully phased in in the city until 2018.Read more