CTU president sides with scabs in junior doctors’ strike

June 6, 2008

- Tim Bowron

Council of Trade Unions President Helen Kelly has condemned recent strike action by junior doctors employed by district health boards, claiming that it risks giving unions “a bad name”.

In an article published in the Sunday Star Times on April 27, Kelly criticised the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) for not supporting the “modern” partnership model of unionism promoted by the CTU as well as unions such as the Public Service Association. According to Kelly’s prescription, instead of taking industrial action the RDA should be joining in the “tripartite forum” already established by CTU unions along with the Ministry of Health and the DHBs to talk through the issues. Moreover, she said, “the RDA focused on industrial matters and lacked wider professional advisers, such as policy analysts, economists, lawyers and advocates.”

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Breadline wages contributed to Muliaga tragedy

June 6, 2008

- Daphna Whitmore

The Muliaga inquiry doesn’t seem to be factoring in the role of the terrible pay that the family were trying to survive on. Below is the press release that Unite issued shortly after Mrs Muliaga’s death (her husband worked at a hotel that Unite organises). The Herald accused me of trying to use the tragedy to further a cause, implying that I was being callous. But Mrs Muliaga’s nephew turned up at the picket and was very supportive of the strike.

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Tranz Rail buyback: why they did it

June 6, 2008

- John Edmundson

On May 5 this year the Government announced that it had completed negotiations with Toll Holdings to repurchase the rail and ferry business sold by the Bolger National government in 1993. For some, this has been seen as a great blow against the post-1984 neoliberal onslaught, characterised by a string of restructuring and asset sales carried out by successive Labour and National governments.

There is no question that the decline of rail in New Zealand has been a sorry tale. Prior to the 1984 election, Richard Prebble toured the nation, stopping in at railway workshops around the country, promising to “Save Rail”. Once in power, he revealed what that actually meant. NZ Rail slashed staff and services. Thousands of workers, and many communities, were devastated by the reforms.

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People vote for change in Tonga, Zimbabwe and Nepal

June 6, 2008

- Alastair Reith

In the past month or so, elections took place in three very different countries, far away from one another, with distinctly different languages, cultures and histories. These countries did have some things in common. All were all poor, third-world countries, whose people live in poverty and oppression, and they all voted against the regimes and systems they currently live under.

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