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Mega-strike a taste of the new militant Union landscape in New Zealand

By   /  May 13, 2019  /  19 Comments

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Ever since the National Party neutered the Union movement with the Employment Contracts Act, Public sector Union’s have been cowered into acquiescence and the militancy evaporated.

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The Teacher Mega-strike is coming and the only thing we can say is that it’s the beginning of the new normal in industrial relations.

Ever since the National Party neutered the Union movement with the Employment Contracts Act, Public sector Union’s have been cowered into acquiescence and the militancy evaporated.

Timid public Unions led by timid Union leaders has become the norm with the most militant and alienating voices left to the Wellington Twitteartti social media pile on lynch mobs.

But then something happened.

Social Media not just for the Union Press Secretaries of Wellington, but for the workers themselves.

For the first time ever, unionised workers could speak to one another about the shared experiences of underfunding, bypassing the union leaders altogether. It is this online radicalisation of the actual workers, not the leaders, that heralds a new militancy in industrial relations.

The workers are pissed off, and when they hear e same issues replicated night after night in shared facebook pages, they get angrier and angrier.

They also feel the power of actual solidarity and the enormous energy to force change.

The sleepy old Union leaders are suddenly having their cages rattled for the first time by workers collectives that won’t take the flimsy nothings that get agreed with State sector bosses, so get used to far more disruptions and an explosion of real militancy if National ever take power again.

This is a moment about workers finding their voices again, either the Union Leadership step up or they will find challenges from new movements forming inside their own unions.

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19 Comments

  1. Janio says:

    Agree Martyn – the members are the union, not the officials. Now Simon supports the teacher’s strike. He’s confusing the usual line-up – what about that Martyn? Real support or posturing for attention?

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes Martyn,

      The unions are the protection of workers rights ultimately.

      Government is playing fools treating them as bad boys in school for staging strikes as their rights to speak are being made harder without a good public media we were promised by labour MP Clare Curran but she failed us all.

      Since now we only have a “lame media” who will not give unions any voice now, that’s why unions are being militant and are putting there point across now in this manner, so Labour need to learn that is was their fault that made Unions now strike to be heard.

      The importance of unions;

      I have only worked for two companies with unions, Bell Canada 1988 to 1993 when working there, and Ministry of Works in Turangi from 1966 to 1972 and both unions had protected my working rights.

      Unions are needed to protect the workers.

  2. Tiger Mountain says:

    Apart from some welcome flickers and campaigns when Helen Kelly was at the helm, the NZCTU has since its abject failure in 1991 to oppose the ECB/ECA, indeed been just another lobby group. Private sector militancy was basically extinguished by the public sector union tops and the likes of Ken Douglas, once the two merged into the CTU in 1987.

    The CTU as central Labour body, should be providing political leadership for the organised NZ working class, much as the Federation of Labour under Jim Knox largely did. The FOL used to meet directly with Government Ministers and negotiate on behalf of NZ workers. A world away now.

    If the public sector membership has found a spine via social media, and more importantly developed more membership organisation and a shared approach to tactics etc. good for them. But online enthusiasm can dissipate just as quickly without an overview and someone steering the ship. The NZNO strikes seemed to leave a lot of bitterness behind due to online arguments.

    The conservative leaders of the CTU, PSA, NZNO, and NZEI and PPTA need replacing sooner rather than later if new found militancy is to continue and develop. But hey, it is not called ‘Class Struggle’ for no reason!

  3. ALH84001 says:

    Who heard Bridges on RNZ this morning? Weasel words from a weasel man.

    • mosa says:

      I won’t listen too anything the Natz have too say because i know what i am going to hear……..bullshit and blame the other side cause we did nothing for nine years.
      The mute button is a wonderful invention.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      I heard him (Simon Bridges) as a pathetic broken man, he should quit while he is ahead.

    • John W says:

      RNZ seems to put him on more days than not.

      Not so with Labour.

  4. RED BUZZARD says:

    …from a weasel Nactional Party

    …imo there should be NO freebees/bribes for politicians …from the Chinese or anyone else

    …imo they should have a big pay cut so they are on a par with teachers

    ….they should also have no special retirement perks like free air travel….and their retirement provisions should be the same as the average NZer ( Not their previous salary)

  5. michelle says:

    weasel words, from a weasel man from a weasel party what do your expect

    • John W says:

      Weasel have sharp teeth, are dangerous predators and should never be let in the hen house.

  6. In Vino says:

    Please don’t get over-exuberant. This is no Mega-strike as our obedient Right-Wing media like to report it.
    For heaven’s sake – it is a strike of only one day.
    When was a puny one-day strike ever ‘mega’? More like ‘mini’.

    Teachers never strike effectively because too many of them are afraid of losing too much pay – “I have a mortgage to pay!” etc..
    A one-day strike is puny, not mega.
    This will turn into a PR battle as usual, and the media are already painting the teachers as hard-out militants. They are far from that.

    In past strikes, the Govt folded only when it saw Boards of Trustees and numerous parents breaking away to support the teachers. I hope this happens again. The rest is theatre.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Yes, – one or two days strike is pathetic compared to 1951 or the great strike of 1913… whereby Masseys Cossack’s rode into town with meter long manuka clubs to belt down the workers after they had been hastily deputized…

      Seriously today’s unions are a mere shadow of what they used to be, compliant and docile, meek and mild. There is a lot to be desired from todays version compared to those generations that went before and REALLY knew the issues they were up against and were willing to be jailed ( and beaten ) for merely striking…

      About the nearest we have had was the Ports of Auckland fracas a few years ago.

      What is needed is sustained rolling nation wide strikes and stoppages spearheaded by militant trade unionism – and a new political party born out of that movement. That is the only thing that would put a bomb under the arse of Labour, National and the whole neo liberal political edifice in this country.

      Trade unions are the ONLY group large enough and with enough networks to do the job.

      Remember , – Labour itself was born out of courageous union members.

      It was done once, and can be done again.

      The neo liberals are counting on the fact they wont and that they have them cowed. Its time that false sense of security was whipped out from under them like an old tattered rug and they were sat squarely on their anal minded arses.

      I would far prefer 6 months or a year or more of ongoing disruption and inconvenience than this continuing , ongoing malaise ,entrenched systemic poverty and the imbalance of power weighted against working people being allowed to continue in this country for future generations to have to endure.

      Its time the Douglas lie was ended.

      Because no one is being fooled by their bullshit ‘trickle down’ garbage anymore and they only ones that are ? , – are the neo liberals themselves.

  7. michelle says:

    the unions aren’t as strong as they use to be after 9 years of a nasty national government who does not care about working class people they care about themselves the unions need to build capacity now

    • Exkiwiforces says:

      They have never been strong since they rolled over like a puppy dog in 91 when the ECA came in.

      And have a brunch of useless gutless wimps since and are always prepared to take soft option like this unlike the doing the hard option when “The No Mates Party” is in power especially when the Maori Party sells itself out like a lady of the night on K rd, Cuba st or Manchester St. So much for sticking up the Maori and Pacific Islanders.

  8. countryboy says:

    I’ve just read this on RNZ.
    Farmers take the initiative to re invent socialising for the sake of their mental health.
    Go bloody ewe boys!

    “Pop-up pub: Friday night drinks in the woolshed”
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/countrylife/audio/2018694499/pop-up-pub-friday-night-drinks-in-the-woolshed

    If, and clearly you do, want to fuck up National and their minions and re set the navigational direction of AO/NZ?
    Get these boys and girls and kids on your side. In these seemingly humble few fellows/femmes and kids? There lurks a weapon against the likes of which the Natzo’s will have no defence.
    Get AO/NZ farmers on the side of the broader AO/NZ Unions and you will see in a new dawn, a new day. Instead of scrapping with the farmer and being told you must hate on us? Instead? Invite us in from out in the cold. Or, more relevantly, let us invite you in?
    The Natzo’s simply cynically use farmers to divide us as a people so as they and their Queen Street money cultist mates can rip us the fuck off.
    Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Listen to this guy ^^^

      Its the truth, we need to join together, ‘and let our laughter fill the air’… no more division , no more pitting the rural sector against the urban, the very devices the neo liberals use as sustenance of their disgusting ideology… don’t give them any more air to breathe.

      For those that were old enough at the time, and remember the 1974 Common wealth games held in Christchurch…. this was how we were,… precisely one decade before the odious Roger Douglas and his filthy , obnoxious cabal shat all over us… this song was drilled into us at the time and as a kid it made my heart joyful and content in being a young New Zealander.

      join together – Steve allen 1974 – Commonwealth games – theme song.divx
      https://youtu.be/QZZ_yYtGe5s?t=7

  9. Chris says:

    The placard in the image should read “Keep your notes, I want change”, not “keep your coins…”

  10. Peacekeeper says:

    Cool… let’s just hope that they aren’t funded by the CIA too… I thinkcwe’ve Had enough of that just recently right

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