Union Leadership driving strikes could derail Labour in 2023

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Upside down, the CTU logo is the Chinese character for 'Failure'

More strikes on the cards as unions flex muscles for members in cost of living crunch

An increase in industrial action is brewing as unions across the country push for more pay to combat cost of living pressures and look to leverage the Government’s better-than-expected financial position.

Thousands of university staffers took to the streets on Thursday calling for an 8% pay rise for union members. Oranga Tamariki union members voted on Wednesday to strike later this month, unhappy with high workloads and the wage offer on the table, while New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) has scheduled nationwide meetings to speed up negotiations.

It comes as the Government’s fair-pay agreements legislationmakes its way through Parliament. The legislation – a Labour payback to the unions – would boost unions’ ability to compel employers to engage in collective bargaining and increase their institutional clout.

If we were honest about the unions, (we are not allowed to be honest about the unions)., but IF we were honest we would have too quietly acknowledge the leadership has been very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, 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The decision to denounce the Parliament Lawn protests (even though the entire Union movement is built on protest), the cock up with the Nurses Union not putting the pay equity settlement to members,  the bewildering cock up to start a strike 1 hour early that almost cost workers $500 000, and the TEU getting smacked down by AUT and almost costing members two full weeks of no pay all highlight that while the Union Leadership are desperate to negotiate some basic wins, they don’t have the tactics and strategists to avoid basic fuck ups before they’ve even attempted to gain anything!

The Union leadership may be desperate top go to war, but like Putin, they’re tactics and strategy and weaponry is shit.

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Matt McCarten needs to be brought back into the fold to do the strategy for all this because the list above shows Union Leaders doing more damage to their own cause than gain wins for members.

Deciding to launch a summer of strikes leading in an election year where National and ACT could form a government is not only stupid politically but it also means the Fair Pay Agreements which could unionise the other 84% of workers will get gutted as well!

That said, it takes 2 to tango. Grant can’t spend a billion on consultants like Kris Faafoi,  Neale Jones, Clint Smith and Dave McCormack

Woke public relations consultant for the Cormack Draper Group and Wellington political commentator, David Cormack, the Ruminator speaks.

…and cut debt by $10 billion and not appreciate he has to pay more to Union members!

Striking now ensures a National Party win and spurs arguments against Fair Pay Agreements – how mismanaged has the union leadership become and how politically deaf is Labour getting?
Let me be as clear to my Left wing Union comrades as I can be – a National ACT Government will destroy any tiny progress we’ve made over the last 6 years if they get back into power!

 

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe – just maybe – union leaders today are not really part of the Labour project?

    Perhaps they are more like the chief Executives of industry associations – just looking for the best deal for their members. Sure, they will back Labour come election time because that’s better for union organisations, but who would look to this Labour government to deliver anything substantial?

    What’s the diff between Labs and Nats?

  2. “Striking now ensures that in some small measure workers might gain a little pushback against years of falling wages and conditions.” FIFY.
    Quite frankly Martyn – fuck the politicians. They failed us. Workers are beginning to “grow a pair” and are preparing to fight and slay the out of control neoliberal capitalist monster that has been parasitising them and destroying their communities.
    And if, through some horrific warping of the spacetime continuum, we do see an economy-tanking Nact coalition govt. next year, then those same workers will be ready for them. The new anger in our communities in this post-Covid late stage Capitalist nightmare will not magically subside. You’d have to be Helen bloody Keller to not feel it. It’s palpable, and it’s looking for release.
    A putative Nact government advocating austerity will be met with way way way more than it can handle. And no amount of ZB crapfest bleating will change that.
    Bad juju is not far way.
    Interesting times we live in, eh?

    • Anger brought about by the current Ardern Labour Government.
      The last 6 years of dreadful mismanagement.

      • No Bob.
        Anger at an economic system that has created an absurdly wealthy few, at the expense of the many and the planet.
        And your friends in the ‘blue’ and the ‘yellow’ parties are even worse than the folks in the ‘red’ party.
        Austerity and tax cuts for the rich? It’s like petrol on the fire for angry voters.

  3. so workers are supposed to suffer to get the do nothing LINO elected for another term….is that it, the nats will be worse but jacinda does not inspire confidence in any change….

  4. Any union worthy of the name, with even a vaguely class left leadership, should keep on keeping on with direct action and advocacy for members whatever Govt. is in office.

    Unite, First, and lately Etū all do a pretty good job of battling the bosses at worksite and industry level.

    The formation of the NZCTU was a major class error of the later 20th century. Some of us pointed that out in 1987, and some after the 1991 sellout, and some realise it now in hindsight. The fighting class left spirit of Jim Knox was needed during COVID when second tier benefits and payments were made via employers rather than directly to workers. Fighting spirit is needed now to call for an ongoing “For the Many Not the Few” campaign to smash the Parliamentary neo liberal consensus between all the main parties.

    Don’t be scaredy cats–battle the boss class before and after elections. Class peace never works satisfactorily if history is any guide.

  5. Go Tiger and Jase – you’re on point and on fire. Unions should do what they should have been doing.
    In fact, if the unions can’t get us out of this mess, no-one can. Revolution or rebuilding from the capitalist destruction has to come from the working class.
    Matt McCarten for leader of the country!

    • Magit modern day Unions won’t get you out of anything.
      For most it’s a stepping stone to Government, Labour Government.
      Once there you are forgotten look at Andrew Little.

  6. Maybe the fake ‘Labour’ Party shouldn’t s**t all over unions, then?

    It’s their choice to not make good deals with unions, even in years when not doing so will be bad for them politically.

  7. Oh but we unions are the Holy Grail for the working man (women have been included to the club for some time)! They don’t seem to acknowledge the bad blood that the Cooks and Stewards gathered for them with their too frequent strikes on the one time of the year when people had a general long holiday and could travel to family, see the country. They were reasonably well paid, with long breaks of weeks after long periods at work without breaks. They got free travel to work from domicile. But not willing to look after the people they were supposed to have a fellow feeling for.

    And they tried to set up closed unions so that family and mates got first preference to this sad nirvana. Sounds like the old boys network for top well-paid jobs. So nothing much different in behaviour from top salary circle to workers on wages. They used to go into negotiations asking for double what they thought they might get. It was a fight that had been arranged beforehand. Power-hungry poms wanted to fight their class battles in NZ was the belief, and we were suitably malleable without better ideas.

    We don’t seem to have learned a better ploy yet. We should have gone the way of shareholding to workers I think. Or like Mondragon in Spain.
    The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It was founded in the town of Mondragon in 1956 by José María Arizmendiarrieta and a group of his students at a technical college he founded. Its first product was paraffin heaters.
    Headquarters: Mondragón, Basque Country, S…
    Founded: 14 April 1956

    That’s better than the Teamsters Union in the USA which have had serious corruption, if we didn’t already have something like that here. Power tends to corrupt etc.
    Jimmy Hoffa and the corrupt side of the Teamster Union
    https://sno.dvrhs.org › opinion › the-corrupt-side-of-th…
    Ultimately, Hoffa was a bad guy who did lots of good things. He united all freight drivers under an agreement, created the pension fund and much more.

    Peter Conway was a well thought of economist versed in union affairs and possibly when they lost him they lost an anchor to reality. The Greens tribute to him also revealed a different side to them than seems apparent now.
    https://www.greens.org.nz/green-party-mourns-passing-peter-conway
    “Peter was a brilliant economist and a kind and gentle person, who will be greatly missed by everyone in the Green Party who had the honour of working alongside him,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

    “Peter had experience at the coalface and in the boardroom and was deeply respected on both sides of the industrial fence, by both workers and employees.
    “As Secretary of the Council of Trade Unions, Peter could still be found running a picket line at 3 in the morning, he never shirked the hard work, and never stopped fighting for a fairer New Zealand.

    Then the boilermakers strike on the BNZ Wellington building left a bad taste, though I am sure they had grievances that needed to be attended to. (It was the tallest building then in
    Wellington). I think it changed building engineering from steel to relying on concrete. Can this be changed back – as I think concrete is a greenhouse gas emitter? May be wrong though on that.
    In 1985 the BNZ Center was opened across the road. An underground tunnel linked the Old Bank and the New ‘Black Tower’. The BNZ Center was controversial in its construction having suffered major delays due to the Boiler workers strike. At the time of completion it was the tallest building in Wellington. https://www.bnzheritage.co.nz/archives/story/building-banks-in-wellington – and
    https://places.nz/places/wellington-city/te-aro-wellington-central/bnz-building-10039

    And more recently I felt that there were union members on The Standard who were saluting the closing down of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery which I thought was hasty and ill-conceived. I can’t remember if they were into the idea of green hydrogen as being a winner but I think that thought followed on as being the new way of reducing greenhouse gases and dependence on fossil fuels.

    There are too many hearty ambitious men in and perhaps women, in unions it seems to me. That’s why Helen Kelly was so appreciated, both practical and kindly, with ‘heart’ – no ‘y’.

  8. Labour are doing a good job at turning voters off them all by themselves and need no help from the union. I said last week that the local body elections will be a good indicator of how those that both to vote are thinking .The result is a resounding reject of Labours attempt to meddle in local affairs with 3 Waters , house building and the backing of cycle ways and the dropping of speed limits .

Comments are closed.