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Wellington: Politicians Pay Poverty Wages

category aotearoa / pacific islands | workplace struggles | news report author Thursday February 25, 2010 05:37author by AWSM - Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movementauthor email info at awsm dot org dot nz Report this post to the editors

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.

For many cleaners their job is hard enough even without the poverty wages as it demands working late into the night, which makes it difficult to remain functioning members of their families and communities. SFWU member Allan Gaylard pointed out “I clean Parliament from mid-night to dawn, and I think a lot of these MPs do not know we exist. It is OK for John Key and Members of Parliament to say they will not get a pay rise this year, but they earn more than $130,000 with John Key earning $400,000, whereas I earn $12.55 an hour!”

The protest was a reasonably noisy affair, with the cleaners disrupting business as usual at Parliament by banging their placards with wooden spoons for around 20-30 minutes, followed by speeches from Union representatives, rank and file cleaners and Labour and Green Party politicians. The snug relationship between the unions and the Labour party was plain for all to see, with one Union rep claiming ‘everything will be alright once our friends are back in power’. Contempt for rank and file control couldn’t have been more striking.

But the irony of a system where the Prime Minister earns 100 times the hourly pay of the person forced to clean his office was also lost on no one, with John Key’s own personal cleaner suggesting he should ‘clean his own bloody office’. Of course those who have been forced to work late into the night cleaning up the mess of politicians who clearly couldn’t care less about them deserve far more than the miserable $2.12 increase being demanded by their union, ultimately they deserve control over their lives and their communities – nothing short of full emancipation.

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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

textLet’s Melt The Wage Freeze 14:02 Sat 28 Nov by AWSM 0 comments

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.

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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