Reclaiming the right to strike and how it’s essential for rebuilding workers’ power

February 7, 2010


The following article is a shortened and edited version of a Workers Party internal document by Jared Phillips  printed in The Spark February 2010

 Initially socialist organisations in New Zealand responded to the anti-strike laws contained in the Employment Contracts Act and Employment Relations Act with some vigor, including in The Spark. In response to increased strike restrictions put in place by the Labour-led Labour-Alliance coalition in 2000, the Socialist Workers Organisation conducted a campaign in some workplaces and in the public centered around a petition, which was significant as far as petition campaigns extend. 

Casino workers on strike 2008 during bargaining

The new legislation (ERA 2000) included a ban on solidarity strikes and political strikes. In summary the legislation, still in place, from a working class point of view, is this, ‘We can only strike for our own contract, only when negotiations have broken down, and if we do engage in an unlawful strike (i.e. a strike for any other reason), there could be severe damages penalties against us and the union’. It is concerning that the left has withdrawn its activism from the issue because, as the comparison goes, this is the new ‘leg-iron of labour’. Read the rest of this entry »


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