Over 80 First Union members at Porirua Pak n Save have rejected a pay offer and voted for community action and strikes. The Pak n Save owner is refusing to pay a Living Wage. Last Saturday and Sunday workers and community supporters picketed at the store entrances and leafleted shoppers. The public reaction was on their side. Pak n Save hired thugs, otherwise known as Security, to intimidate. On the Saturday Security shoved cameras in peoples’ faces, followed protesters to their cars and shouted aggressively. Perhaps they went too far because that night the shelf-stackers held a meeting and walked off the job leaving product in the aisles. On Sunday Security was noticeably lower key. That’s the power of strike action!
The First Union’s organiser Richie Morris confirmed in an interview that there have been strikes. The first legislative action of the new John Key government was to make changes to employment law designed to make strikes called by groups of ordinary union members illegal. Socialist Review does not have the full details, but it could be that Pak n Slaves have been the first to ignore the new anti-strike-law, and if so battle honours to them.
The idea of the Living Wage, currently 18.80 an hour, is gathering pace in Porirua. This year a Living Wage Porirua group has got together and it plans to take the city by storm in 2015.