“Burn the vampire bosses”

October 31, 2009

On the eve of Halloween there was a carnival atmosphere as people marched up Queen Street Auckland.

The march was part of Unite’s campaign to get 300,000 signatures on our petition for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour. If that target is reached by May next year the government will have to hold a referendum on the question of whether the minimum wage should be lifted to $15 an hour.

A vampire boss effigy was burnt at the stake, to cap off the night.

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Book Review: How Aid Hurt Palestine

October 29, 2009

Reprinted from Electronic Intifada. To support the WP Palestine solidarity campaign, click here.

From 1994 — shortly after the Oslo Declaration of Principles was signed — to 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, international donors gave $8 billion in aid to the Palestinians, making them one of the most subsidized people on Earth. This aid ostensibly had three purposes: to support the peace process leading to a two-state solution, to foster economic and social development, and to promote institution-building. Yet, many years and billions of dollars later, Palestinians are poorer and further from statehood than ever before, and their dysfunctional national institutions face an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy.

In her first monograph, international relations specialist Anne Le More seeks to answer a straightforward question that ought to be of profound import to scholars, activists and decision makers: how and why did this happen? Along the way, International Assistance to the Palestinians after Oslo, the first in Routledge’s Studies on the Arab-Israeli Conflict series, provides an important critique of the belief that reconstruction, development and humanitarian aid form essential counterparts to political processes aimed at resolving longstanding violent conflicts. Le More’s study focuses solely on the Occupied Palestinian Territories; the questions it poses, however, could offer a template for exploring the extent to which “aid” has become the means to repackage Western military occupation and dependency as “state-building” and ”independence” in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Kosovo.

Read the rest of this entry »

Key tells CTU no major changes to employment law

October 27, 2009

by Daphna Whitmore

In the run up to the last general election the Labour Party enthusiasts who hold so many of the top posts of unions were giving dire predictions that a National government would take NZ back to the dark ages as far as workers’ rights were concerned.

The Workers Party, in constrast, didn’t think Labour had ushered in a golden age, nor did we think National were planning on a major attack on unions. What was likely, we said, was that it would be business as usual.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lockout Over, Cheese Workers Win Collective Agreement

October 27, 2009

Media Release: Dairy Workers Union

The month-long lockout of workers at Talleys-owned Open Country Cheese is over after workers have secured their goal of collective employment agreement to cover their jobs.

“The members of our union at Open Country Cheese have stuck together right through this very difficult dispute,” Dairy Workers Union National Secretary James Ritchie said.

“All that these workers wanted was some basic job security through a collective employment agreement and they were illegally locked out for standing up for their rights.”

The company’s restructuring at the plant greatly reduced the number of positions available and a confidential settlement was reached for workers whose jobs have disappeared, he said.

“The workers were buoyed on by the very strong support of the Waharoa and wider Waikato community, and the solidarity of the union movement. Their stand for fairness at work shows that workers are stronger when they act together in unions,” James Ritchie said.

Michael Moore: “Socialism is democracy.”

October 26, 2009

Ed note: The Workers Party does not necessarily endorse Moore’s analysis in full.

Press release: Victoria University arrests peaceful protestors

October 21, 2009

At mid-day today Wellington political activists and Workers Party members Heleyni Pratley and Joel Cosgrove were arrested when they attempted to deliver a petition to the administration of Victoria University.  The petition, signed by 50 academics, union officials and educationalists, called for the lifting of a two-year trespass order the university administration had imposed on them for being involved in a protest against fee increases several weeks ago.

Rather than allow them to present the petition, the university authorities placed the administration building under lockdown, put security personnel out front and called the police, who arrived in force with long batons and arrested Pratley and Cosgrove.

The two activists have been released on bail but the conditions include not only not stepping foot on Victoria University property but also not associating with each other, despite the fact that they are in a relationship and have been for four years.

“Will the police be raiding us in the middle of the night to see if we are still sleeping together?” asked Pratley.  “The behaviour of vice-chancellor Pat Walsh and chancellor Tim Beaglehole call into question how fit they are to run a university.  I’ve already had men sent by them try to force their way into my home and then announce I was trespassed from the university because I succeeded in keeping them out,” says Pratley.  “Walsh and Beaglehole seem to think they’re running a personal feudal fiefdom rather than a public institution which is supposed to champion critical thinking and freedom of expression.”

“We’ll be stepping up the campaign against the completely over-the-top actions of the administration at Victoria; we’re calling on students, trade unionists, civil libertarians and all supporters of free speech and freedom of association to join us in demanding the charges be dropped and the trespass order be revoked,” Cosgrove concluded.

University uses state forces against activists

October 21, 2009


I/we call on Victoria University to lift the trespass notices on Heleyni Pratley and Joel Cosgrove.

(Organisation/title/institution for identification purposes only)


Christchurch Meeting: Campaigning to increase the minimum wage

October 21, 2009

Join the 300In Christchurch, the Workers Rights Campaign is heavily-involved in collecting signatures for Unite trade union’s petition for a citizens-initiated referendum to increase the minimum wage. Come along and find out about the petition and the other activities of the Workers Rights Campaign.

Speaker: Byron Clark (WRC)


WEA, 59 Gloucester St


Picket against political targeting by VUW

October 20, 2009

Click here for more info.


A strange land with strange customs

October 18, 2009

Don Franks

Somewhere out there is a strange land with strange customs. The head of an airline in this strange land gets paid $46,100 a week. A bus driver performing the essential job of taking passengers to the airport gets paid $544 a week. This is an experienced bus driver on the top rate.

Now the rent in this strange land, for a modest home in a working class suburb is $390 a week, more than two thirds of a bus drivers pay. A driver also has to pay for stuff like food, power, transport and things for the kids. A little money for recreation and entertainment would be nice too. A couple of hundred dollars isn’t enough to adequately cover these costs, so the drivers have to do something.

Bus drivers' rally Auckland

Bus drivers' rally Auckland

They get together in their union and ask the bus company for a pay rise. Not a lot, just enough for a modest living. Still about $45,000 a week less than the airline guy’s getting.

The bus company refuses to meet this request, so the drivers decide to express their discontent by working to rule. Read the rest of this entry »


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