Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RAT PATROL LAUNCH 12 NOON AOTEA SQUARE SAT FEB 28


On Saturday Unite Union is presenting the "Rat Patrol" to help fight unfair sackings to the public in Aotea Square at 12 noon. Dozens of people have volunteered to join an on-call squad to protest against employers who sack people unfairly. They will be marching.
A new law comes into force on Monday which allows workers in smallbusinesses to be sacked for any reason, or no reason at all, in theirfirst 90 days of employment.
The law has been dubbed the 90-day fire at will law by unions.
Unite National Director Mike Treen says “The Rat Patrol volunteers are telling employers that if the government takes away peoples' right to legally challenge an unfair dismissal then we have to take action outside the framework of the courts.”
The Rat Patrol is named in reference to a 6metre high inflatable rat the Unite Union uses when picketing employers’ premises with a sign aroundits neck saying "Don't be a rat: Give workers a fair deal”.
“We want as many volunteers as possible to join the Rat Patrol by registering our website www.unite.org.nz “ said Mike Treen.
“Our goal is to have several hundred people registered as willing and able to respond to appeals for help on short notice. There is loads of anger in the community about the new law, and people love the idea of bringing the giant inflatable rat to shame their own rat bosses.”

From: "We Won't Pay For Your Crisis" an organised fightback against attacks upon the working class during this capitalist crisis.

For more information about the Rat patrol and "We Won't Pay For Your Crisis" meeting times contact Unite Waitemata Branch Secretary Keith tel: 8340604
email: keithhend@gmail.com

Posted by the President

Join Us!


Fees for Beneficiaries are $1 per week. Fees for others are normally $2 per week.
Download the form, fill it in and email it to the Secretary: keithhend@gmail.com
Or print it and phone 09 8369104 to find out where to post it.



I wish to join Waitemata Branch Of Unite
Mr/Ms/Miss
Name...............................................................................................
Address...............................................................................................................
Phone:
Home………………………....... Work…………………….. Mobile…………………….
E-mail………………………….............................................................

Fill in as applicable
Employer........................................................................................
Work place.....................................................................................
School ............................................................................................
Tertiary Institution.....................................................................
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Pension..........................................................................................
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Signed.................................................... Date.....................................

Rally against the 90 Act! This Saturday, 12 Noon, Aotea Square!


There will be a mass rally against the 90 Day Act this Saturday , 12 Noon, February 28th , at the Aotea Square, Queen Street , Auckland.

Waitemata Unite's President says:
This legislation is really dangerous for beneficiaries who may be forced into unsuitable work, then sacked, then refused a benefit because they have been sacked! We need to resist all sackings, and make sure all our unions do too, especially UNITE! The good thing is- you can stay in UNITE no matter what; and the Waitemata Branch is a voice for beneficiaries in the union.

Mass Action defeated the Wayne Mapp 90 Day Bill before. We need mass action to defeat this current 90 Day Act.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Employers Take Advantage of 90 Day Act at Time of Recession


All bets off as jobless hit six-year highEmployers are turning to easier-to-fire part-time and casual staff for a more flexible workforce to help them through the economic downturn.Figures made public yesterday by Statistics New Zealand show unemployment hit a six-year high of 4.6 per cent in the December quarter. This was up from 4.2 per cent in September a rise of 10.8 per cent in three months. There are now 105,000 jobless nationwide. Most economists expect unemployment to reach 7 per cent this year, putting pressure on the Reserve Bank to further cut the official cash rate from 3.5 per cent to as low as 2 per cent by the middle of the year. But economists say the big surprise in December's figures was the 0.9 per cent increase in the number of people in work in the quarter, mainly due to the 3.5 per cent rise in part-time workers. The number of fulltime employees also rose, but by a modest 0.3 per cent. Just over 69 per cent of the workforce was employed, up 0.6 per cent, as people tried to make ends meet, economists said. "All these extra job-hunters overwhelmed the supply of jobs," ASB economist Jane Turner said. Robin Clements at UBS said the increase in the number of part-time workers suggested employers were turning to casual staff who were "easier to let go if need be".Just as Tumeke predicted when National misused urgency and pack raped the select committee process to ram through the right to sack law, employers are now starting to focus on only casual employment so that they can sack new workers under the new 90 day law. With over 7% unemployment predicted this year, plus the many NZers who will flee the Australian economic and environmental collapse plus the 100 000 NZers who find themselves as new employers every 3 months, that creates a massive slice of NZ who are always new employees and as such are ripe for exploitation. These figures show how quickly that exploitation is starting.
(Reprinted from www.tumeke.blogspot.com/ -)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poverty is Government's Shame, Not Ours!


Issued August 2006

Poverty Is Government's Shame Not Ours!
Fight Back Against the Second Wave of Attacks Against the Poor

Replace the In Work Payment with

Real Increased Family Support for All!

One in Four Families Living in Severe to Significant Hardship!
The Ministry of Social Development's Living Standards Report 2004, says that the proportion of families with children living in severe and significant hardship rose from 18% in 2000 to 26% in 2004.
This group is composed almost entirely of beneficiaries. This means we often can't afford basic items like heating, medical bills, or fresh fruit and vegetables. The economy grew by 17% at the same time.
While our incomes fell, employers made big profits.

Beneficiaries Miss Out on Real Family Support Increase.
Did you know that the Government recently made significant increases in Family Support to all families? However it slashed benefits by approximately the same amount at the same time! That's why you didn't notice a big increase in your income. This is a hidden benefit cut

“Working For Families” Discriminates Against Beneficiaries! No “ In Work Payment” for Us!
The Government's “Working for Families” package provides an In Work Payment (tax concessions)
to families on low to middle incomes; but it excludes families of those living in the worst poverty, beneficiaries! At least 175,000 New Zealand children will get nothing from the package, including children of around 40% of Maori families, and 30% of Pacific Island families
The Child Poverty Action Groups is taking the Government to Court for this shameful discrimination.

Reverse the 1991 Benefit Cuts!
The recent deaths of the Kahui twins brings home the terrible effects of generations of poverty brought about by the massive job losses caused by the economic restructuring of the 80's, followed by the slashing of benefits by as much as 24 % in December 1990, and the Employment Contracts Act in 1991.The hardest hit include Women , Children, Maori, and Pacific people. This is economic violence towards the most vulnerable members of society.

Don't Blame us for Unemployment!
Employers needed to lay people off work in order to bring wages down, and to have a pool of unemployed ready to take on any work when required.
To add insult to injury, those who lost their jobs were then blamed for being unemployed!
Now that employers want workers again, everybody is expected to work, including mothers of young children, and the severely sick

Mothering is work!
Mothers are raising the next generation of citizens, workers and tax payers.
Mothers on the DPB are heroically attempting to bring up their children at levels of severe hardship. We are then blamed for any social problems in our communities, as well as for draining the economy.
Some parents are forced by extremely low wages to work long broken shifts at any time of the day or night; and are unable to give their children the attention they need.


Full Funding of Women's Refuges and Social Services
If the Government is serious about stopping violence, it must fully fund these services now.

We need affordable housing now!
The Government has sold off most of our state houses, and the Accommodation Supplement helps landlords to charge sky high rents! Some of us who help each other by sharing housing to reduce costs, are attacked for being in “clusters”! We have the right to live together to help make ends meet! We also need to be able to afford to live alone.. Mothers who need to leave violent relationships need a living DPB. It's our right!

Reinstate the Special Benefit
In 1991, benefits were deliberately set below the level of people's basic needs.
Many people, especially single parent families, were forced to apply for top ups such as the Special Benefit to make ends meet. The Special Benefit was designed to meet special needs, and could be adjusted according to the beneficiary's circumstances.
Now, the Special Benefit has been abolished, and replaced with a drastically reduced Temporary Assistance Grant. It is capped, and if you need more assistance, you won't get it.

Stop Wayne Mapp's “90 Days and You're Sacked” Bill.
Jobs Jolt, introduced in 2004, has led to record numbers of people on unemployment benefits having their benefits suspended for failing work tests. This has caused unbearable hardship.
If this Bill is successful, beneficiaries could be forced to take work and to sign clauses allowing employers to sack us within 90 days, without any reason.
If we refuse, we face a benefit stand down. If we take the job, we face a stand down when we are sacked! We must unite now against this Bill ! Only a strong union movement, together with a united community can win against attacks upon workers' and beneficiaries' rights.
Unite! opposes this Bill.

No More Benefit Cuts! No Work Testing of Mothers and Invalids!
The Government plans to introduce a Single Core Benefit. Its purpose is to achieve a “rapid return to full time work”, and save itself seventy million dollars. All benefits will be reduced to the level of the Unemployment Benefit. Those with children or health needs will have to apply for top ups. Mothers and invalids will have to be available for work, whether suitable for their family or health needs or not.
We must unite to fight these attacks now! Social Needs must come before employers’ needs.

Unions and Communities Together! Beneficiaries and Workers UNITE!
Unite! is a union for low paid workers, unemployed and beneficiaries. We can help each other!
When we all stand up for our rights, in a union movement, we can achieve a living income for all!
Join us! Let us know about your struggles! Come to Our meetings!
We meet on the third Saturday of the month at 11 am at the Avondale Community Centre.
If you would like to know more, and to confirm meeting times, telephone Keith: 8369104.

Issued by the Waitemata Branch of Unite!

August 2006








Day Of Action on 90 Day Act


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day of Action on 90 Day Act
A united front has been formed to fight the new government's anti-worker 90 Day 'fire at will ' legislation. Waitemata branch fully supports this campaign. Below is a lealet we have been distributing at WINZ offices. The anger of the working class is evident: last week our leafletting gained six recruits in two days.
WE WON’T PAY FOR THEIR CRISIS!JOBS JOLT THE BOSSES!SMASH THEIR GOVERNMENT’S90-DAY BILL!The time of crisis…Worldwide workers are being laid off en mass as the capitalist crisis deepens and intensifies. In one day TNCs have laid off 70,000 workers. Workers are losing their homes and families are breaking up as they are being made to pay for a crisis created by the system that never enriched anyone but the bosses. In Aotearoa 7% unemployment is predicted, with 20% for Maori. A third of employers have announced their intention to lay off staff in the next three months. On behalf of the bosses the Key government is taking advantage of this by making it easier for employers to fire workers. And, as if the already unemployed were individually responsible for their situation, WINZ is requiring them to engage in the futility of visiting three employers per day!…is a time to get organised:What can the individual do? NOTHING! But it is because it has been proved time and again that united and organised in unions the working class are a mighty force, bosses governments have conspired within our lifetimes to smash the union movement. The limited protection offered to unions by the recent Labour government resulted in slow union growth and modest wage gains. It is now up to workers own efforts to rebuild vital democratic fighting unions with full membership rights to the unemployed.The fightback is under wayIn USA and elsewhere workers are occupying factories to prevent their closure. Communities are uniting to resist evictions. Mass demonstrations are forcing the resignation of government ministers. In Auckland Feb 28th is to be Day of Action Against the 90 Day Bill. Form committees in your workplace, send delegates to planning meetings.Unemployed UNITE!While our backs are against the wall! Unite is the union for unemployed, and Waitemata Branch is planning collective actions to prevent the unemployed being victimised by the crisis. 100% effectiveness will require 100% participation of the unemployed. We are as yet far from achieving that, so join up and lend your weight to the struggle.
Feb 28th: Day of Action
Against 90 Day Bill
Contact: solidarityjoe@yahoo.com TXT 0064211861450

Stop Rocketing Prices!


STOP ROCKETING PRICES!
Are you or your kids hungry, sick, freezing?
Can't afford clothing, shoes, food, decent-or any- housing?
Can't run a car, and no decent public transport available?
Did your income drop when the Special Benefit was abolished?
Are you sick of having to re-apply for Temporary Additional Support?
Never have enough money to meet your basic needs?
Are you being refused essential child support (In Work Payment) simply because you receive a benefit?
Are you sick of having to attend meaningless work seminars ?
We all know that Food and Petrol prices are rocketing!
The system is out of control!
It is time to change it!
Voting for Governments won't work. National slashed benefits in 1991 and Labour keeps on cutting them further! Both try to push us into demeaning low paid work schemes that prevent us getting ahead into real jobs!
We need to take the power into our own hands.
When workers and beneficiaries unite! We can get results!
Join Unite! The union for low paid workers , unemployed, and beneficiaries!
We got youth rates up. Now its time to get all wages and benefits at liveable levels !
Abolish GST !
Affordable public transport and state housing for all!
We want a Price Freeze now!
Come to our Forum on the Cost of Living
Share your experiences !
Let's plan some actions!
Issued by the Waitemata Branch of Unite!, the union for low paid workers, unemployed and beneficiaries, June 2008 8369104
Together we can change this!

Apology


While this blog has been neglected since May 08, the branch has been active in other ways. Below are leaflets the baranch has produced and distributed in the intervening months...not necessarily in chronological order. Of particular current importance is the leaflet below on the 9- Day Act.

Defend the Constitution


This leaflet was distrributed at the 2008 Unite! AGM.
In the current political and economic situation
DEFEND THE UNITE CONSTITUTION!
For full membership rights of unemployed and beneficiaries in any amalgamated union.
Unite Union was formed
during the later years of the 1990s National government when unemployment was high and the neo-cons in power were hell bent on casualising the work force and replacing welfare with workfare. To defend the most vulnerable members of the working class Unite was formed to organise unemployed on work-for the dole schemes and unite them with casualised, part time and temporary workers. The constitution of the union clearly states this intention.
Labour in Power
With the advent of a Labour government the threat of work-for-the-dole schemes disappeared and the replacement of the anti-union Employment Contracts Act by the more union-friendly Employment Relations Act made conditions more favourable for organising casualised workers. On the face of it, falling unemployment reduced the urgency organising the unemployed, and Unite officials unashamedly passed this side of its work off to the Combined Beneficiaries Union. Organising the unemployed disappeared from the agenda.
Meanwhile, the Labour government increasingly relied on the full employment for which it claimed credit, together with the “Working for Families” package to deliver welfare to the working class, and its delivery of benefits became so “work-focused” that it effectively made the benefit system serve the labour market. These changes were of the kind that their political opponents would be proud of. The children of beneficiaries continued in deprivation.
National on the attack
Now the political and economic situation is reverting to what it was when Unite was founded. The capitalist crisis is threatening to create mass redundancy and the National Party is poised to take power. If it does, it will find the ground well prepared by the present government for its beneficiary-bashing policies. Unite members, whether or not presently employed, are certain to be its prime victims. Whoever is elected on 8th November, though, laid-off Unite members will be in sore need of a union that represents unemployed.
An amalgamated union would put Unite members in a stronger position than in the 1990s. But only if the original constitutional provisions for full membership of unemployed and beneficiaries are retained in the constitution of the amalgamated union. It is clearly in the interests of any members who might in the future be laid off to uphold those provisions. Members lucky enough to keep their jobs should also support them, and not just out of solidarity with their union brothers and sisters. Mass level unemployment is the most powerful instrument the bosses have for keeping down wages.


Food Price Crisis


Join the growing…

GLOBAL REVOLT AGAINST ROCKETING FOOD & FUEL PRICES
(The fruits of the free market!)

SOLIDARITY FOR SOUTH AFRICAN GENERAL STRIKE TODAY!

The bad news is that worldwide rocketing food and fuel prices are forcing billions into extreme hardship if not starvation. In Aotearoa hard won and long overdue wage increases are being swept away as price rises outstrip them. Meanwhile welfare benefits remain virtually at the 1991 levels imposed by Ruthenasia.

The good news is that worldwide the masses are revolting against the threat to their very survival. In Egypt, for example, riots have forced the government to introduce subsidies. In South Africa workers are showing the way with a more organised response and are mobilising today in a general strike.

Corporate bosses may disingenuously blame one another for rampant price increases. Yet no public inquiry presided over by profiteers or their minions can be trusted to identify the ultimate cause of the phenomenon as an exploitative system founded upon production for the sake of profit.

For decades the sycophantic media have been singing the praises of globalisation and the free market. Their paens of praise have become more muted lately as the capitalist economy spirals yet again into one of its recurrent depressions, and even middle class savings are threatened.

This depression is potentially far more catastrophic than any preceding it, and rocketing prices are a symptom of the system that has spawned it. Only the revolt of those most adversely affected by it, namely the international working class, can avert its grim consequences through resolute united action.
End corporate subsidies, tax-breaks and other privileges!
Subsidies now for food and fuel for all!
Abolish GST! Fund social services through progressive taxation of the profiteers!
And, since these measures will only ameliorate the symptoms of a crisis ridden system:
Expropriate profiteering enterprises and place them under workers’ control!

PUBLIC MEETING
2:00 P.M. Saturday 9th August
WEA 9 Henderson Valley Rd

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day of Action on 90 Day Act


A united front has been formed to fight the new government's anti-worker 90 Day 'fire at will ' legislation. Waitemata branch fully supports this campaign. Below is a lealet we have been distributing at WINZ offices. The anger of the working class is evident: last week our leafletting gained six recruits in two days.
WE WON’T PAY FOR THEIR CRISIS!
JOBS JOLT THE BOSSES!
SMASH THEIR GOVERNMENT’S
90-DAY BILL!
The time of crisis…
Worldwide workers are being laid off en mass as the capitalist crisis deepens and intensifies. In one day TNCs have laid off 70,000 workers. Workers are losing their homes and families are breaking up as they are being made to pay for a crisis created by the system that never enriched anyone but the bosses. In Aotearoa 7% unemployment is predicted, with 20% for Maori. A third of employers have announced their intention to lay off staff in the next three months. On behalf of the bosses the Key government is taking advantage of this by making it easier for employers to fire workers. And, as if the already unemployed were individually responsible for their situation, WINZ is requiring them to engage in the futility of visiting three employers per day!

…is a time to get organised:
What can the individual do? NOTHING! But it is because it has been proved time and again that united and organised in unions the working class are a mighty force, bosses governments have conspired within our lifetimes to smash the union movement. The limited protection offered to unions by the recent Labour government resulted in slow union growth and modest wage gains. It is now up to workers own efforts to rebuild vital democratic fighting unions with full membership rights to the unemployed.

The fightback is under way
In USA and elsewhere workers are occupying factories to prevent their closure. Communities are uniting to resist evictions. Mass demonstrations are forcing the resignation of government ministers. In Auckland Feb 28th is to be Day of Action Against the 90 Day Bill. Form committees in your workplace, send delegates to planning meetings.
Unemployed UNITE!
While our backs are against the wall! Unite is the union for unemployed, and Waitemata Branch is planning collective actions to prevent the unemployed being victimised by the crisis. 100% effectiveness will require 100% participation of the unemployed. We are as yet far from achieving that, so join up and lend your weight to the struggle.



Feb 28th: Day of Action

Against 90 Day Bill

Contact: solidarityjoe@yahoo.com TXT 0064211861450








Secretary's Reort 2008 (Abridged)


Untimely Loss of Branch President.
A long and deep shadow was cast over the life of the branch with the totally unexpected death in March of our then branch president Roger Fox. I make no apology for giving this first mention in my report as, besides being a foundation member of the union, it was largely through Roger’s initiative, enthusiasm, determination and perseverance that Waitemata Branch was established and continues to be the only branch in the union open to unemployed and beneficiaries. As he could take credit for the existence of the branch, so too can he take credit for its continuance after his death. His absence was felt when in August our branch meeting failed to achieve a quorum. Yet his presence was felt when in the following month attendance rebounded to 8, and in October to 11. And whenever our branch has been represented at pickets and demonstrations, we have been following precedents set by Roger.

Brief Overview of the Year in Retrospect.
Beyond regular monthly meetings, branch activity during the year came in three forms:.
Attending demonstrations and pickets in solidarity with striking workers in NZ and those oppressed by imperialist aggression overseas.
Organizing forums on topics of burning importance to Unite members and the wider working class.
Campaigning to have unemployed and beneficiaries democratically represented in the proposed amalgamation of Unite with the SFWU and NDU.

Campaigns Supported; Demos and Rallies Attended.
Continuing from the previous year, members actively supported the pickets of hospital cleaners in their successful strike against their employer Spotless. We were well represented at the rallies supporting the defendants in the so-called ‘Urewera terrorism’ case, and a few of us have regularly attended pickets at the court. Members marched in anti-war demos, Mayday parades and (despite atrocious weather) demonstrated against US imperialist Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice when she dared to visit Auckland.
Unite union has held strikes at a number of sites throughout the year, but typically we have heard about them too late to send organised support to the pickets. The union is not so organized that branch secretaries are routinely notified of pickets, and even if it were, it is doubtful that HQ would notify a branch which has reason to be critical of the leadership.

Forums
The branch hosted three forums. For the forum ‘Leg Irons for Workers: The Employment Relations Act and the Terrorism Suppression Act’ we were privileged to have as a speaker one the defendants. The forum on constitution of proposed amalgamated union. Was intended for the rank-and-file of all three unions concerned, but disappointingly, apart from Waitemata Branch members only a few supportive union organisers turned up. The third forum (on Rocketing Price Rises) was, like the first, well attended.

Membership and Meeting Attendance.
Membership remains stable at 16. Those lost through resignation and, sadly, through death have been replaced by two new members, both of whom had been recruited via forums. There is clearly a need to concentrate more on recruiting in future.

Amalgamation.
Since first hearing late last year of the amalgamation proposals, the branch has been a consistent advocate of democratic structures in an amalgamated union, organizing a forum and producing leaflets toward this end. Although attempts to send reps to negotiations have been obstructed by the bureaucrats, we were successful at the October union AGM in getting passed an amendment to a resolution to the effect that branches and worksites be encouraged to send delegates to amalgamation workshops. The resolution was one authorising the management committee to continue negotiating, even though it was reported to the AGM that negotiations had stalled, apparently on the issue of support or otherwise for the parliamentary Labour Party