Winston vs the CTU – what’s really going to happen next year?


When National were in power, the public service unions wouldn’t fart without John Key’s written permission. The real struggle for workers rights were left to the Meat Workers Union, Unite and the Warfies, and you can understand the public service unions reluctance, after the way Key crucified Actors Equity and turned the hobbit fiasco into a knee capping of the entire movement, the public service unions faced a Government happy to damage them for political reasons and a membership too beaten down to fight back.

That all changed when Jacinda came to power, all that repressed frustration at not going anywhere suddenly exploded with a huge jump in union disruption.

How brave to fight for worker rights the millisecond National are no longer in power.

The added issue for the unions was that the membership went from apathy/frightened to militant because social media allowed them to connect with each other and the leadership were suddenly having to reign in members aspirations. The Nurses union and Teachers union almost lost control of their memberships desire to rumble.

Winston and Jacinda appearing at the CTU conference this week was a carefully stage managed affair to send very clear messaging to the CTU to not push their luck. As we saw with the toothless nothings that this government have already passed for workers, the Right decried these virtually meaningless gestures as the second coming of Marx so something of the magnitude of fair pay agreements and industry-wide workplace deals will have the Right and their media puppets claiming class war with the Bolsheviks.

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Rather than declaring industrial action and handing the ammunition to Simon Bridges personally, the CTU needs to embark upon a PR campaign to sell fair pay agreements and industry-wide workplace deals to the public directly because this Government are so risk averse going into the 2020 election they simply don’t have the time or energy to make these arguments themselves. The campaign has to explain what impact these changes would make in language that isn’t Wellington bureaucrat speak and aimed at those sectors of the community who will recoil the most at the changes and be prepared to front foot it directly with the Employers association and big business to counter their propaganda campaign.

If the CTU can’t win the people over with a clever campaign, this Government sure as Christ won’t be expending the little political capital they have left to die in a ditch for a movement that barely 20% of the workforce are joined to.

The Spinoff published an article at the beginning of the month highlighting accusations of sexual assault that led to right wing media pundits and senior journalists falsely insinuating  the PM knew about and covered up a sexual assault and that media feeding frenzy resulted in the sudden drop in the polls for Labour. Hardly an outcome the painfully middle class woke sadfishing mommy bloggers of The Spinoff want to be associated with.

Imagine if The Spinoff had gone to Jacinda for comment first so that character assassination and resulting political poll damage hadn’t occurred?

The CTU can either be the Spinoff publishing allegations with no chance of Jacinda responding or they can be mindful that battles won mustn’t lose the war.


  1. The government could have backed a campaign for a minimum industry wage of $20 an hour for the three sectors by October 2020 (6 months before this was the MW in April 2021). Modest ambition modest reward.

    Not even National could declare this an economic threat, yet the principle of an industry award above the MW is still established.

  2. Winstone is right about our unions them and our teachers were gutless when national were in power and who suffered the most no them they had jobs and a home. Having said that the unions need to rebuild as national put the boot into them for 9 years demonising them and when people say they don’t want to hear the 9 years cliche i say that is utter bullshit because in 9 years a government can do a lot of damage and national have done this before but people still vote for them because too many Nzers vote for themselves not our country and what is best for us it all about themselves not all of us in this together. So when i hear we are one people i think bullshit one people my arse.

    • Michelle – your comment qualifies as a 100% idiotic response.
      Trying to follow and understand your 128 words of gabble- with just 3 full stops [people need to be as idiotic as you to comprehend this garbage]
      Most people know how to use capitals and full stops [they learnt this when they were 5-6 years old!] and so your contributions are nonsensical and barely intelligible to “normal” people.

      • Who cares what you think norm if you don’t like it bugger of your the idiot not me save your criticism for our wannabe pm who cant even speak properly and you call yourself normal, normal by whose standard.

      • Who cares what you think norm if you don’t like it don’t read it and don’t come onto this site bugger of and you call yourself normal by whose measure

      • Norm if you don’t like it don’t read it bugger of. Hoskings say ‘ if we don’t like what he says we don’t have to listen switch it over’ and we do. I haven’t seen any of your contributions to this site so don’t come on here and tell me what I can and can’t say and how I have to say it your not the moderator.

  3. FPAs are one of those sneaky measures that will literally “lift all boats”. It will raise the wage floor across participating sectors. That is why Employers hate it–and because the State will be directly involved in wage fixing again–which has not been the case since the mid 80s.

    Union membership is not the total thrust of it, though no doubt Unions will seek opportunities there. Low membership is due to three things, the 1991 ECA which wiped out many Unions virtually overnight, the changed nature of work from full time to precarious, gig, Interns, and contract for many, and, Logistics, Unions just do not have the resources to get around all the small work sites and SMEs.

    FPAs will benefit workers in places that are hard to reach, although few workers are totally unorganisable as UNITE and First have shown.

  4. Yes Martyn,
    Inside the ‘Union beltway’ there now seems to be a new ‘growing belligerent attitude’.

    We saw this after we tried to discuss our concerns about Kiwi rail’s slow efforts in lobbying to get more regional rail services going.
    Even past members of the rail industry are reporting to us that the old guard within Kiwi rail are returning to old habits of shutting out any outsiders now.

    Some are suggesting that perhaps the ‘National Party sleeping cells’ are getting the upper hand here?

    Martyn said; “When National were in power, the public service unions wouldn’t fart without John Key’s written permission.”

    • Excerpts:
      “As it boasts on its website, Tiwai is the single largest user of power in New Zealand (punching above its weight), equivalent to around 776,000 average Kiwi households every year, and more than all the residential households in Auckland.”

      “It has been noted repeatedly over the years that Tiwai’s power deals are artificially keeping power prices up for every single Kiwi power user, which of course, means more money for the likes of Meridian and Contact, but also all the other power generators who are retailers too.”

      “It makes zero sense that millions of New Zealanders are paying for international corporate profit through higher electricity prices. Except, of course, for those generator/retailers who are making bank.”

  5. @ Martyn Bradbury

    Good idea suggesting the CTU campaign on this.

    However, I was wondering how you came to assume there isn’t already large public support for Fair Work Agreements?

    When the teachers and nurses were out on strike, the public were largely behind them.

    Most people know New Zealanders are largely low paid and would like to see something done about. So what makes you believe the public support for this (Fair Work Agreements) isn’t largely already there?

  6. To : CleanGreen

    I am appalled that the East Coast of the North Island has been abandoned by Albabtross wanderer Winston Peters, Shylock Shane Jones, Auckland Mistrel Phil Twyford, Soothsayer Green James, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

    Each of these immobile personages have spoken hundreds of words and performed zilch actions.

    They have been requested again and again to restore trustworthy Rail Transport in the East Coast.

    But instead, the males and females have stuck like obedient little mice to John Key’s trousers, piling thousands of deadly Trucks on numerous roads from Kaitia to Invercargil. Via Gisborne. Via Taranaki. Via Everywhere.

    CleanGreen, the Coalition is an untrustworthy rabble. It cannot even lay a Rail and bring a modicum of safety to our roads.

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