Wednesday, 28 October 2009

a belated labour day post

i was meaning to write a labour day post, but ended up writing about something else instead. so i'll do a belated one.

labour day is a day for us to think about rights for workers that were won after long struggles and much sacrifice. things like the 40 hour working week, sick leave, holidays, health & safety in the workplace, a legal minimum wage, protection for child workers, the right to union membership and collective bargaining, and so much more.

of course, many of these conditions were lost in one foul swoop with the employment contracts act in 1991, and some have slowly been won back. every improvement in workers' rights has involved a lot of hard work and having to deal with strong and powerful lobby groups such as the BRT and employers groups.

one of the campaigns i was briefly involved with was the move to make rest breaks compulsory. it was great to see this legislation passed last year, and so frustrating to see that it's going to be reversed shortly by the new government. it's so stupid. productivity improves when people are allowed decent breaks, and one really has to wonder at the mentality of employers who advocate for measures that are actually against their own interests.

but mostly, i feel for those already poorly paid workers, often working more than one job, who won't get the breaks they desperately need.

in sympathy with those workers, i hope those of you who are in auckland will support the campaign for a living wage this friday night:

The Campaign for a Living Wage will be taking to the streets of Auckland's CBD on Friday night, to demand a minimum wage of 15 dollars an hour, and an end to poverty wages.
Download posters for the march HERE.

Kick off is at 7pm at Aotea Square. Speakers and groups supporting:
Mike Treen, Unite
Robert Reid, National Distribution Union
Darien Fenton, Labour
Sue Bradford, Greens
Sonya Church, Young Workers Resource Centre
Donna Wynd, Child Poverty Action Network

Bring banners, flags and placards from your group too!

We are doing movement stalls outside Starbucks on 220 Queen St Thursday and Friday before the march from 4 til 6 pm

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