Industrial Shocks Undermine NZ Workers Rights

The earthquake is not the only disaster under way in New Zealand - new workplace laws are rocking the foundations of the labour movement and bringing down job rights

Dan Wakeling,  ITF/MUA Whyalla delegate joined NZ comrades in Auckland in August to protest the proposed new workplace laws about to come into place under the Conservative Government there.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has pledged that the government announcement of attacks on workers rights will be fought hard.

"National have now dropped any pretense of moderation in their policies - the phoney war is over and National's agenda of tax cuts for the rich, privatization and now tearing up the basic rights of working people is out there for all to see," said MUNZ General Secretary Joe Fleetwood.

"Restrictions on union access to workplaces was a serious attack on the right of New Zealand workers to organize.

Dan stopped over to join the protests on his way back from ITF Congress in Mexico, do a bit of ITF work and catch up with Joe and MUNZ comrades. 

"I got into a car at 4am in Wellington and arrived in Auckland at 12.30 just in time for the rally," he said. "Joe  gave me a MUA banner he had in his office and we joined the Queen Street rally.   

"The new laws they are bringing in are the sort of thing we had here under Howard.  The legislation has got his fingerprints on it all over. And it's going to go through.  They've got the numbers."

Dan joined around 500 nurses, teachers, wharfies, seafarers and public servants in the first of many rallies.

"This is the first round," he said.  "The first of many to come."

Restrictions on right of entry for unions follows the 90 day trial and fire laws that companies have been rorting.  

"They're taking people on trial, then sacking them at the end of the 90 days so no one has any job security," said Dan.