pic-1

Kristine Bartlett – a hero

In April 2017 the National government announced a massive pay rise for workers in the aged-care sector: two billion dollars over five years; 55,000 staff receiving a pay rise between 15 and 49 per cent; many will move from the minimum wage to a rate between $19 and $27 an hour. Socialists and trade unions rejoice that these workers, the majority of whom are women, are paid a better wage for the work they do. These are the workers whose skills and efforts are used to improve the mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing of people in their last years.

 

The government did not do this because it was the right thing to do. They were backed into a corner through the courageous struggle of aged-care worker Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union (now E tū). In 2012 Kristine Bartlett stood up for her rights and took Terranova Homes to the Employment Court on the grounds that they were in breach of the Equal Pay Act of 1972. Specifically, her case rested on section 3 (1) [b]. This section states that workers in female-dominated industries should be paid at the same rate “that would be paid to male employees with the same, or substantially similar, skills, responsibility, and service performing the work under the same, or substantially similar, conditions and with the same, or substantially similar, degrees of effort.” Bartlett argued that workers in the female-dominated aged-care sector were paid a depressed rate compared to workers doing similar work in male-dominated industries. This differentiation, Kristine Bartlett claimed, was illegal.

[Read More…]

Recent articles

With the surge to Labour, or not?

Kick National Out! Build a socialist alternative! These are the slogans the ISO is campaigning around in this election. But what should they mean as we see this wave of enthusiasm for Labour? Martin Gregory offers his view:   In this election campaign the Labour Party is reaping a tidal wave of enthusiasm from the […]

National’s Appalling Record

By Martin Gregory   The National Party is the party of business, employers and the wealthy; namely the capitalist class. If National are booted out in September, from their perspective they will at least be able to look back with satisfaction that since coming to power in 2008 they have tipped the balance even more […]

Election 2017: Why vote, and why vote left?

The ISO is campaigning in this election around the slogan: “Kick National Out! Build a Socialist Alternative!” Our general position is given in this paper here. In this contribution, ISO member Brian Roper gives his view of how this slogan should be applied, arguing for a party vote Green.    This article addresses some important […]

Turei against poverty

Tara Dalefield reports from a Christchurch meeting with Metiria Turei last month. On the 31st of August, former Green party co-leader Metiria Turei spoke in the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral about poverty in New Zealand and the fallout from her confession to benefit fraud six weeks prior. She spoke extensively of the ways in which our […]

Seeing Ardern in action

Raff Kingsbury reports from Labour’s big rally in Wellington last Sunday. At St James Theatre in Wellington yesterday, the MC introduced Jacinda Ardern with a line that would have been pure hyperbole a month ago, but now seems very possible: “Welcome the next Prime Minister of New Zealand!” The 1550 seat space was at capacity […]

A shift to the left

By Martin Gregory   At last, the National Party is running scared.   We in the International Socialists often noted during the three terms of John Key-Bill English government that National’s strategy has been to wage the class war in piecemeal fashion and avoid confrontation when resistance threatened. For example, the government backed down to […]

Jacindamania!

By Martin Gregory   Just a few weeks ago, the general election looked set to be a contest between Andrew Little and Bill English: battle of the grey bores! The only question was which camp Winston Peters would choose. Well, what a turnaround! The election campaign has been a rollercoaster.   On 16 June, in […]

Labour: Understanding Reformism

By Dougal McNeill Labour Parties pose a great puzzle and a challenge for revolutionary socialists in New Zealand, Australia, and Britain. Labour is the oldest political party in New Zealand, and continues to command the ‘support’ (however grudging) of much of the working class. The party is remarkably resilient. After overseeing massive attacks on the […]

From the archive

Anzac Day: Against the Carnival of Reaction

mobiliseagainstthewarOn Anzac Day 1967, at the height of New Zealand involvement in the ‘American War’ in Vietnam, with New Zealand troops taking part in the suppression of the Vietnamese struggle for national liberation, members of the Progressive Youth Movement in Christchurch tried to lay a wreath following the dawn service in memory of those killed by imperialism in Vietnam. They were arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour. Feminists a decade later faced down a media-driven public outcry when they laid wreaths to the victims of sexual violence during war.

Lest we forget? It’s more like lest we remember. Anzac Day serves as a carnival of nationalist reaction, a day of public ritual aimed at promoting forgetting: forgetting the real legacy of New Zealand imperialism and militarism in favour of a sentimental nationalism, an anti-political celebration of national unity. [Read More…]