Members of our Wellington branch were proud this morning to stand in solidarity with Unite union members striking for a living wage at McDonald’s. McDonald’s makes hefty profits, but its workers, on casual contracts, are paid minimum wages.
13 forestry workers have died in work related accidents in the past 3 years, 30 in the last 6 years. Just to put this in perspective the death rate in the UK forestry industry is 10.4 per 100,000 workers and in NZ 343 per 100,000. Some bosses blame workers drug use and call for increased drug testing but there no amount of excuses can justify this outrageous number of fatalities. We need explanations, and the forestry bosses need to be held to account for all these needless deaths.
It’s just sickening to read reports of the royal commission’s findings on the Pike River disaster. 29 men lost their lives – and have left behind grieving families and friends – in what was an entirely preventable, and predictable, tragedy. The lawyer for some of the families involved calls it an “unrelenting picture of failure at virtually every level”: warning after warning about the build-up of methane gas was ignored, workers’ concerns were ignored, dangerous techniques kept up. All for Pike River Coal’s drive for profit.
At a mass meeting Auckland bus drivers working for NZ Bus Ltd had thrown out a pay deal recommended to them by the First Union and the Tramways Union, and the drivers were set to strike on Monday, September 24, and every Monday thereafter. Every socialist and trade unionist should be aware of what happened next and of the full story of the drivers’ dispute so far.
Low paid aged care workers at Oceania homes have been driven to revolt. Members of the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota and nurses in the NZNO first struck on 1st March, and again on 7th. Stopwork meetings took place on 14th March and strikes on the 19th and again on 5th April. Staffs at more and more of Oceania’s 57 homes have joined in the action as the campaign has worn on. Joint union spokesperson Alistair Duncan has explained: