The 90 day no rights bill (NZ)

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Skraeling
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Jul 16 2006 03:04
The 90 day no rights bill (NZ)
an email i got wrote:
A few months ago the National Party’s Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill was voted through its first reading. National’s Bill is a serious attack on workers: if it becomes law it will mean every New Zealand worker who starts a new job will have no employment rights for three months

Unskilled workers would be put on one 89 day contract after another so they’ll never have any rights. Over 300 000 workers change jobs every year. Eventually all workers will face the same threat.

If you changed jobs, your new employer could sack you for any reason they choose, in fact they won’t even need a reason, just two simple words: “You’re Fired”

There are 48 National MP’s pushing to seriously change the lives of over 3 million working New Zealanders. Unionised workers, students, and anyone who cares about their rights at work will be standing together to put a stop to this bill this Thursday at rallys throughout the country.

check out workrights.org.nz

upcoming actions:

July

20th: Rally at Parliament 12:30 Wellington

20th: Rally at Kathrine Rich's Office, 12:30pm, 83 Moray Place, Dunedin

22nd: Rally at Victoria Square, 12 noon, Christchurch

August

23rd: Public rally 12:30pm, Aotea Square, Auckland

OK, what do people think of the campaign? I know there are quite a few NZers lurking out there. Speak up!

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Anarchia
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Jul 16 2006 04:27

The campaign seems pretty flawed to me, which is unsurprising given thats it's driven by the EPMU / CTU. It's focussing pretty heavily on National, while ignoring Labour's attacks on workers. The EPMU are far too heavily in Labour's pocket to ever seriously address workers rights (let alone workers liberation).

Having said that, I'll still be attending the rally, although I'll make every effort possible to make it clear that my message is about defending workers and attacking capitalism, rather than simply attacking National / this specific bill.

As a side note, I find it amusing that the campaign is referencing the French situation, without ever mentioning HOW the legislation was defeated in France wink

Skraeling
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Jul 17 2006 02:43
Asher wrote:
The campaign seems pretty flawed to me, which is unsurprising given thats it's driven by the EPMU / CTU. It's focussing pretty heavily on National, while ignoring Labour's attacks on workers. The EPMU are far too heavily in Labour's pocket to ever seriously address workers rights (let alone workers liberation).

Having said that, I'll still be attending the rally, although I'll make every effort possible to make it clear that my message is about defending workers and attacking capitalism, rather than simply attacking National / this specific bill.

As a side note, I find it amusing that the campaign is referencing the French situation, without ever mentioning HOW the legislation was defeated in France ;)

yeah, its quite sad, given that the proposed bill is somewhat harsher than the French one (the one here applies to all workers regardless of age, but the French one was for 2 years, rather than 90 days).

But its important to note that we can't automatically expect NZ workers to rise up like the French ones did. Their culture is way different than ours. I mean, they actually have a radical workers tradition, for instance. Here our radical tradition got stamped out in 1951, since then it's all been a bit like "She'll be right mate, I can take anything they throw at me"

So if there is not much of a groundswell for radical action as in France, what do we do? Surely something beyond merely attending the demos?

How about an organised call for strike action (unofficial action strikes me as more possible, as they have outlawed political strikes in NZ)?

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Anarchia
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Jul 17 2006 04:47

Oh, yeah, for sure, I wasn't suggesting for a moment that anything like the French response was likely here - I just found it funny that the EPMU was even referencing it tongue

As for what we can do to go beyond the EPMU's call, I'm not sure. I'm pretty cautious of calling for strikes unless they were actually likely to happen - I find the CWG's constant calls for a general strike pretty pointless, given that noone actually listens to them (and the vast, vast majority of workers wouldn't even hear them!).

A good start would definately having a strong presence at the rallies over the country, with a clear message along the lines of "Labour & National - two sides of the same coin", and making a real effort to use these rallies as an opportunity to start creating links and networks with actual workers, rather than union beaurocracies. As long as people like Andrew Little and Ross Wilson are able to pretend that they actually act in the interest of workers, we won't achieve anything...

Skraeling
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Jul 18 2006 09:17
Asher wrote:
Oh, yeah, for sure, I wasn't suggesting for a moment that anything like the French response was likely here

I didn't assume you were, just a general comment, not directed at you at all. On second thoughts, i don't think the situation here is all bleak, as resistance goes on everyday, and there has been some interesting stirrings recently with the rise of a kind of "new unionism" starting to happen. it would be interesting to see how this new current goes in this situation.

Quote:
As for what we can do to go beyond the EPMU's call, I'm not sure. I'm pretty cautious of calling for strikes unless they were actually likely to happen - I find the CWG's constant calls for a general strike pretty pointless, given that noone actually listens to them (and the vast, vast majority of workers wouldn't even hear them!).

i largely agree. in the end, it really depends on what workers want, and if they are prepared to struggle, they can defeat this bill. the lesson of 1991, when workers were prepared to struggle, was that workers failed to form their own organisations (strike committees, workplace resistance groups etc) to stop the ECA and so failed to outmaneouvre the union bureaucracies from suppressing the calls for a general strike.

this time around its a totally different situation from 1991. the union movement has been decimated for one. maybe people could pipe up. what is the feeling in your workplace? and union? (if you work or are in a union that is). is there possibilities for action beyond anti-Nat demos and petitions? my impression is that there isn't too much, but i dont really know (i'm a lumpen).

i find the CWG funny. they are forever trying to convince everyone of the correctness of their party line. they're what i call programmatic rather than opportunistic Trots (like the old SWO) .

Quote:
A good start would definately having a strong presence at the rallies over the country, with a clear message along the lines of "Labour & National - two sides of the same coin", and making a real effort to use these rallies as an opportunity to start creating links and networks with actual workers, rather than union beaurocracies. As long as people like Andrew Little and Ross Wilson are able to pretend that they actually act in the interest of workers, we won't achieve anything...

i would say that is a good start, i don't disagree with you at all. but in the end the rallies wont change things much. they're OK but their just symbolic. i think its important to form networks with workers where you live and work too.

btw, do you find it strange that this bill doesnt seem to be debated much here, when it is the biggest attack on workers since 1991? (someone might suggest the ERA of 2001 was a pretty big attack too, granted).

Torrance
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Jul 18 2006 21:55
Quote:
btw, do you find it strange that this bill doesnt seem to be debated much here, when it is the biggest attack on workers since 1991? (someone might suggest the ERA of 2001 was a pretty big attack too, granted).

My understanding is that it's almost certainly going to be defeated, based on gossip from inside the Maori party.

I admit to not being overly keen to fight it, given the way the current struggle cements Labour's position as the good guys, and the way the EPMU is similarly faking militancy so long as it is directed towards National.

I'll be at the demo, but I really have little idea what else can be done. In Wellington we're doing a free screening of "The Take" that night...

(and the 90 day bill doesn't even rate on the "i-think" Listener thing!)

Skraeling
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Jul 19 2006 01:37
Torrance wrote:

My understanding is that it's almost certainly going to be defeated, based on gossip from inside the Maori party.

hi Torrance, well that's good to hear. i suspect that is why people aren't really taking this too seriously. they can't see it going thru parliament.

anyway, if it doesn't go thru, i suppose when National get elected at the next election (looks v. likely IMHO) they will bring it in with full force. This makes this time around a trial run. So next time around we can be better prepared for it.

Quote:
I admit to not being overly keen to fight it, given the way the current struggle cements Labour's position as the good guys, and the way the EPMU is similarly faking militancy so long as it is directed towards National.

well, that aspect of it sucks. from my perspective, a positive alternative is to encourage people to organise themselves, outside the control of EPMU stooges, Labour Party hacks and union hacks in general, rather than get too negative and hung up on the way the bosses of the Engineers union are doing things.

i think whats important in the end is to defeat this attack on people, cos if it did go thru the impact on people would be absolutely massive.

Convert
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Aug 2 2006 01:33

The thing that amazes me is how weak the argument in favour of this legislation is.

The idea that it will help NZ compete with Australia to make it easier to hire workers so they dont leave to Aus is in my mind ridiculous.

If a worker can choose from an insecure job in NZ or a secure one in Aus - which do think they are more likely to choose!? Conversely theres not much incentive to return to NZ leaving a secure job in Aus to get one here you could be fired from in the first 3 months for no reason.

smush
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Aug 2 2006 03:45

hey all,
i'm still lurking around here. for reports on how the rally at parliament was: http://indymedia.org.nz/feature/display/49515/index.php

it was raining, and muddy. but still lots of people, mainly bussed in by the EPMU. Quite a few anarchists there, maube 20 or so. The Wildcat Anarchist Collective handed out a few hundred leaflets (text here: http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/49512/index.php) and we had a few banners. The film night was ok, maybe 35 people. Nic Miller, a local Nazi turned up too to take a coupel of photos. The numbers are a bit disappointing i guess. A few days after the screening of 'The take' some people showed an Illuminati film and 200 people showed up apparently. ahwell.

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