I think now is the time for Andrew Little to start talking about inequality and unions. He has a speech on January 28th where he will reset Labour on the road towards the middle, coming from the most conservative Union in NZ – the EPMU – Little will probably keep it all pretty conservative and dull so as to not spook the sleepy hobbits, and while that’s the rational for Labour rolling over on 24 hour warrantless spying (Labour believe mass surveillance issues remind too many sleepy hobbits about Kim Dotcom, so over compensated and green lighted the SIS to have warrantless spying), but if Little wants traction then he needs to provide solutions.
The rise of our inequality is mirrored by the constant weakening of union rights. I think the time is ripe to connect the two issues together and start promoting a ‘worker levy’…
I believe that no matter your role in society, be it doctor, dentist, nurse, rubbish collector, stay at home parent, beneficiary, prisoner, accountant, farmer, pensioner, bus driver, tow truck driver, taxi driver, politician, labourer, what ever it is, you are important. The fabric of society and community is woven together by everyone and everyone deserves a fair share of the harvest. If the rubbish collector stops the cities shut down in a month, if Doctors refuse to work people die, if lawyers weren’t around we wouldn’t know how much we hated lawyers, everyone has a role to play. We counter a status driven self absorbed culture by demanding workers get that dignity with progressive conditions. If we are serious about a Living Wage, tackling poverty in a genuine manner and ending welfare and beneficiary ‘dependancy’ we should fight for a worker levy and open Union membership.
I think every worker entering a new job should automatically be enrolled with the Union representing their sector. This open membership would cost a levy equivalent to two weeks union membership and workers could either chose to remain as members or if they don’t want to be a member for whatever reason, they can contact the Union and remove their membership.
They would still pay the levy. That is the cost of the standards and work safety conditions the Union has already negotiated prior to that worker entering the job, and as such is the price for having safe work environments with beneficial conditions.
…a worker levy would provide Unions with more resource and allow them to collectively negotiate conditions across entire sectors.
It will be interesting to see where Andrew Little takes Labour on the 28th. Currently it seems to have no idea what it is other than a replacement management team for Capitalism when National are bored with ruling.