Unions are the solution to Labour’s worries, not the source of them

By   /   June 29, 2015  /   5 Comments

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Unions are an important part of the equation for reducing inequality – They have an important leadership role in the debate.

unions

The idea that Labour are facing ‘political oblivion‘ by being aligned with Unions seems more hopeful than prophecy.

Unions are the solution to Labour’s worries, not the source of them.

Inequality, affordable housing, social service privatisation, minimum wage, work safety, strong public schools and health – these are platforms that every successful society needs to progress. They are the values of the NZ Union movement and they need to be values of any Labour Party.

It is the definition of ‘workers’ that needs expanding, not Unions being cut back.

Look at the abuse powerful bosses can get away with...

Talley’s says the current scheme is working just fine. Which is a strange way to interpret a string of horrible accidents over many years that have seen the company dragged through the courts and made to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

The pattern goes much further back than this week’s revelation that Talley’s had been forced to pay a worker $6000 for his poisoning in a meat chiller at the Malvern freezing works. It includes fines and convictions for two dead fishermen, carbon monoxide poisonings, and hooks in the head, amongst others. But even more than that are over 1200 claims to ACC made by employees of the Talley’s Group in the 2014 year alone.

Talley’s meat workers give their bosses absolute discretion over shifts, allow them to sack workers over “irreconcilable differences” and force them to hand over medical and ACC information to the company. The problem is that while the company does have health and safety officers, they are not obliged to listen to them. That, and the fact that fewer people are doing much more, is creating potential dangers.

…and those abuses then get knighted. 

Watering down the weak health and safety standards we currently have so corporates can continue cutting corners for dollars is an argument Labour need to harness beyond those it immediately touches.

Unions are an important part of the equation for reducing inequality – They have an important leadership role in the debate.

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5 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    You’re both right and wrong.

    You’re right in that we need unions.

    The problem is when unions are seen to be controlling a political party.

    • Gadflys Dad says:

      Interesting thought Kevin, Bad when unions seem to control party: Good when employer organisations control party!

    • richarquis says:

      Unions are people. People who vote, people who pay tax, people who have a vested interest in creating safer, healthier, fairer conditions not only for themselves, but also extending to those who choose not to join and pay union dues. Compare that to a non-unionised sector where a single person or small group of people who have a vested interest in maximising profits by any means possible (health and safety contracts, part-time or zero-hours contracts to eliminate the responsibility of sick pay, holiday pay, flexible rosters etc) and tell me which one of the two more resembles democracy, and which one represents authoritarianism.

      So when you say “The problem is when unions are seen to be controlling a political party” I would reply that I would rather have a group of people fighting for a better life controlling a political party than I would a bunch of money hungry people with no concern for anyone beyond themselves and others in their position.

  2. adam says:

    Come on Martin, you and I both know that line from the Tory’s is to keep telling labour what to do from a sense of entitlement. And every time, labour moves away from unions – the working people in this country trust it just a little bit less.

    But, hey labour could listen to all the concern Tory’s (kobolds, goblins and that ilk) and go for the middle vote. What ever that is…


 
Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,