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Let’s Melt The Wage Freeze

category aotearoa / pacific islands | workplace struggles | news report author Saturday November 28, 2009 14:02author by AWSM - Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movementauthor email info at awsm dot org dot nz Report this post to the editors

On Friday November 27th, thousands of workers took part in rallies and marches in 27 cities and towns across the country, demanding that the Government’s wage freeze for state sector employees was lifted. The protests focused on the struggles of hospital and school support staff, and employees at the Ministry of Justice, but many people from other sectors supported the demand and turned out to show their solidarity. Many of the attendees were on strike for the duration of the rallies.

Members of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) were present at rallies and marches in Auckland, Palmerston North, Levin, Wellington and Nelson. Below is the text of a leaflet handed out by AWSM members at the protests.

Let’s Melt The Wage Freeze

OK, you’re here at the rally about the wage freeze for low-paid government workers. Yeah, the recession has hit us hard, with mass layoffs and pay freezes, and the prices of food and stuff keeps going up and up. At the same time CEOs get hefty pay rises and the banks get bailed out. And bosses and managers still treat us like shit.

So what are we gonna do about it? Passively listen to speeches from union bureaucrats in well-paid, cushy jobs? Clap a bit, yell a bit, and then go home?

It’s time to start organising ourselves in our own workplaces. We don’t need to rely on others to do stuff for us. We can do it ourselves together with our workmates. By looking out for, and supporting each other — we call it solidarity — together we can win. This grassroots action is the key to melting the wage freeze.

Ministry of Justice court workers at Manukau and Waitakere have shown the way recently. During the MOJ strikes, they have gone out of their own accord, in addition to the strikes organised by the Public Services’ Association. Their wildcat strikes have shut down many courts. It is when us — the rank and file — get together and control the strikes ourselves that we are more likely to win (and be harder to break).

Action controlled from above, by union bureaucrats, leads to hollow strikes that are not well-supported. Sure, let’s use them to negotiate more pay for less work (stuff their productivity deals!) for us, but in the process you get the feeling you are being kicked around like a football for their own ends.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

That will needed to be worked out by us ourselves. But here are a few rough ideas, based on past successful struggles:

First of all, vote for industrial action where possible and encourage others to do the same. Build a culture of supporting each other at your workplace.

Make links between workers. Invite all staff at your workplace to your pay dispute meetings whether temps, permanent, members of your union or not.

Often you don’t need to strike. You can stay on-the-job and take action like go-slows and work-to-rules, which can be quite effective. Also it is a good idea to take regular common breaks.

Take control of the strikes and actions. Make decisions in open workplace meetings with as many people involved as possible rather than leaving it to union full-timers. Call for mass assemblies of workers to control action. Make sure these meetings are run from the floor and not by union officials.

Visit other workers’ picket lines and discuss how you can help each other. Form support groups if you are not on strike.

Form strike committees or informal groups at your workplace. Think creatively on how you can collectively stuff up your job, as you know your work better than your boss. Take local action against layoffs, bullying and overwork.

Call for all union officials to be elected by and constantly accountable to the membership. Officials to subject to immediate recall, and to be paid the average wage.

Above all, don’t trust bosses, union bureaucrats or politicians. Trust yourselves!

Related Link: http://www.awsm.org.nz
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Mon 24 Nov, 00:02

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solidarityissue13_3.jpg imageSolidarity #13 - October 2010 10:05 Thu 07 Oct by AWSM 0 comments

The 13th issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Visit the AWSM website to download a .pdf copy or read the articles online - http://awsm.org.nz/?p=467

This will be the last issue for 2010, Solidarity will resume publication in early 2011. News and analysis will continue to be posted on the AWSM website until then.

Contents:

* Amongst The Rubble
* A Mini Strike Wave?
* Teacher’s Strike
* Direct Action vs Burger Fuel
* News Briefs
* Upcoming public events

hobbit.jpg imageBehind the spectacle of The Hobbit 10:52 Thu 30 Sep by Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement 0 comments

One of the most popular products exported from New Zealand has been the atmospheric Lord of the Rings films. They invoke images of a far off land called Middle Earth complete with massive mountains, panoramic landscapes, and furry wee Hobbits fighting the evil Dark Lord. The next film based in the same fantasy world, The Hobbit, is to be shot in NZ next year. NZ Actors Equity, the union for actors in NZ, has called upon international actors unions to black the film production. The International Federation of Actors have agreed, and so unions like the Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA, Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio have boycotted the film.

textNew Zealand Workers Set To Face More Attacks 18:19 Mon 26 Jul by AWSM 0 comments

The National Government recently announced a series of new attacks on workers across New Zealand. The raft of proposed changes to the anti-worker Employment Relations Act (ERA, brought in by the previous Labour Government in 2000) and the Holidays Act will serve to further cut job security, wages and conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers in both the public and private sectors.

Solidarity Issue 10 imageSolidarity Issue 10 out now - July 2010 Issue 18:25 Wed 30 Jun by AWSM 0 comments

The tenth issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement is now out.

Read the contents online, or download a .pdf copy, at http://awsm.org.nz/?p=379

textWellington: Politicians Pay Poverty Wages 05:37 Thu 25 Feb by AWSM 0 comments

On 17th February, 2010, members of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement attended a rally of striking cleaners at Parliament in Wellington organized by the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU). The rally was part of the SFWU’s clean start campaign demanding and hourly wage increase from $12.55 to $14.62 for cleaners employed at Parliament and the police college in Porirua, in line with a recent pay increase for hospital cleaners and directly-employed school cleaners.

imageWho's Flexibility? Oct 08 by AWSM 0 comments

The General Election in New Zealand/Aotearoa took place at the end of September and so its all over and done with. More accurately, the ritual of deciding who will politically rule over us has ended. The election of our bosses in the workplace never happened. The end result in both cases is the same. We are faced with a ruling class that feels emboldened to attack workers when it senses opportunities to do so. The latest piece of ammunition the government is preparing to lob our way comes in the form of a bland sounding piece of legislation, the Employment Relations Amendment Bill. This law was delayed prior to the election, due to the resignation of the now ex-MP criminal John Banks, but will be enacted within the next 100 days. What is the bill about?

imageSolidarity #6 - Free newssheet from AWSM Mar 02 by AWSM 0 comments

The sixth issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Download the .pdf at http://www.awsm.org.nz/solidarity/issue6.pdf (1.44MB), or visit our website to read the contents online - http://awsm.org.nz/?p=243.

Contents:

* Politicians Pay Poverty Wages
* Taranaki’s council and DHB bosses earn over $300,000
* Report from Wellington ACC Protest
* Upcoming public discussion evenings
* Crossword Puzzle

textBurgers & Circuses Jul 20 by Barrie 0 comments

The New Zealand Government has announced that it will subsidise the Mc Donalds fast food chain for taking on young unemployed workers. In effect therefore the company is recieving corporate welfare, with the government acting as its Human Resources Dept. Below is a satirical response.

textNewZealand: SuperSizeMyPay.Com: $12 Minimum Wage, Abolish Youth Rates and Secure Hours Nov 05 by Bobo 0 comments

I am organising a campaign called SuperSizeMyPay.Com with other organisers at the Union I work for in Aotearoa/New Zealand to fight for a higher minimum wage, the abolision of youth rates and secure hours in the Fast Food industry and to get this legislated.

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