Workers’ right royal protest

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Anarchia's picture
Anarchia
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Jan 24 2010 23:21
Workers’ right royal protest

From the AWSM Website:

Quote:
Workers’ right royal protest

On 18 January, about 100 Ministry of Justice (MOJ) workers and supporters held a rowdy protest outside the opening of brand new shiny Supreme court building in Wellington. The building was opened by Prince William of England. It was very strange to see the adoring crowd of over 1000 who gathered to glimpse a gawk at royalty, and the cabal of photographers that followed the aristocratic relic around. According to the media, workers showed respect to William by quietening down their protest when he arrived. This was not the case. As he arrived, protesters made more noise.

Hundreds of MOJ workers have been taking industrial action since October last year. This has included a series of short, surprise strikes and an on-going work to rule to slow down the justice system. Workers are seeking greater pay, because they are paid considerably less than the rest of the public sector, and subject to a performance pay system which keeps wages down. The government is trying to enforce a wage freeze on the public sector, and has refused to negotiate on the issue of pay.

At the same time, the government is spending millions on building new prisons to put away working class people. The new supreme court building alone cost $80 million. Their agenda in keeping wages frozen is to pass the cost of the recession onto working class people.

An encouraging sign of the strikes has been workers taking semi-wildcat action over and above the action voted on at stopworks. For example, on the day of the protest, court workers walked off the job in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Te Awamutu, Thames, Huntly, Tokoroa, Hamilton, Tauranga, Nelson, Whakatane, and Rotorua. Another encouraging sign has been the willingness of the Public Services Association, a notorious class collaborationist union famous for its partnership for quality with bosses, actually take action.

There have been a few discouraging aspects of the strikes. The PSA has been very cautious approach towards taking action (such as only allowing workers to vote at stopworks on taking a few hours strike action every fortnight, rather than walking off for a whole day). Also, the action of NUPE (National Union of Public Employees) MOJ members in accepting a shitty deal which PSA members have already rejected has undermined the struggle.

There will be a series of stopworks in early February to decide on further action.

- Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Jan 25 2010 10:38

cheers for the news, let us know how this develops!

PS I'd be interested in your views on my comments to your groups article here:
http://libcom.org/forums/oceania/let%E2%80%99s-melt-wage-freeze-28112009

Anarchia's picture
Anarchia
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Feb 1 2010 05:46

Will do Steven - we've written a bit previously on the MoJ struggle in Issue 5 of Solidarity at http://awsm.org.nz/?p=161#wagefreeze and in the leaflet of ours you linked to.