Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | May 6, 2012

We’re taking a break, and Introductory leaflet

The Wellington Solidarity Network is taking a break. It never really took off for many reasons, including a lack of support among many, many others, but hopefully the idea will remain out there. If needed, the network can reform (or other groups take up similar tactics). There is still a need for groups like a Solidarity Network given the recent disputes on the Auckland Waterfront and the Talley’s AFFCO lockout, as well as the myriad problems people face everyday with bosses and landlords.

For posterity, here is the long version of an introductory leaflet we were going to put out late last year. Though please don’t contact us as we are no longer meeting.

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HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR BOSS OR LANDLORD?

The Wellington Solidarity Network puts pressure on bosses and landlords to get results.  If you’ve got a problem like:

  • unpaid wages
  • haven’t been paid holiday pay
  • your landlord is refusing to do necessary repairs – or just not getting around to them
  • left your flat and haven’t got your bond back
  • council taking forever to do repairs on your street

Then come to us – We can win together.

We come together and help each other out. Together we can use publicity and public pressure to show up bosses and landlords who fail to meet our basic rights. We can impact their reputations and their profit margins. And then we get results.

Two successful NZ examples of this approach from 2010 are:

  1. Burger Fuel.  A woman was fired from this fast food store on the 89th day of her 90 day trial, just for asking for a ten minute break. Solidarity protests were organised at nearly every Burger Fuel in New Zealand and in Australia. As a result, Burger Fuel backed down, gave her compensation and now do not use 90 day trials for workers.
  2. Tour of Shame, Christchurch. Following the September earthquake, Unite Union organised a tour of businesses who had failed to pay their staff while their businesses were closed, who were refused leave, and who forced their staff to work. Subway, Garden City Bowl, First Security and Reading Cinema all backed down as a result of the bad publicity.

An example of a situation in the community where this type of action would be successful is when the carpet in your flat goes mouldy and your floorboards start to rot due to leaks or dampness. If you have informed your landlord of the problem, and they have failed to fix it, call us. Possible actions we could take include getting lots of people to email or ring up the landlord, picketing the landlord’s office or home, and leafleting the landlord’s properties until the repairs are made.

Who is the Wellington Solidarity Network?

The Network was formed in 2010 by concerned community members and rank and file union members who wanted to find new and successful ways of organising.  Unions have been shackled by the law and cannot take strike action easily anymore. At the same time, our real wages are decreasing, and the cost of living is increasing. Many rich people at the top are profiting out of this. We wanted to do something new to change all this.

Many of us cannot risk protesting our own workplace or landlord because times are tough and the risks are too great. The law means that even in a unionised workplace it is very hard to take strike action – for example, only after negotiations for a new collective employment agreement (that normally only come around every 1-3 years) have proved fruitless.  But an outside group – such as the Solidarity Network – can protest outside your workplace or outside your landlord’s office or house. We can do background actions like complaints to the Commerce Commission about misleading advertising. We can turn up every week at the busiest time of the day, picket outside the store, discourage customers from coming in, and so cost your boss money. This will soon get results.  And hopefully you and some of your workmates will then join the network and help out the next worksite or household.

So, if you’re having troubles with your landlord or your boss, or you know someone who is having these troubles, contact us:

e-mail: wellingtonsolidarity@gmail.com
website: http://wellingtonsolidarity.wordpress.com/

phone: 0221062046 (leave a message)

(Our first meeting will be entirely in confidence, and we’ll only take action with your consent.  We’ll discuss the possible actions and let you know if we think yours is a winnable case).

Please note

If you want to take up your case in a Court or Tribunal, there are heaps of other groups that can give you advice or help you out for free (such as the People’s Centre (for beneficiaries), the Workers’ Rights Service, various Community Law Centres, and the Tenants’ Protection Association. Whereas if you just want a quick win, and shame your boss/landlord publicly (so they are less likely to do over other people in the future) then contact us!

Get involved

• If you want to join our e-mail and text message list, to help with pickets, please e-mail us on wellingtonsolidarity@gmail.com. We will send out texts and emails when your support is required at workplace actions.

• You’re welcome to attend our meetings where we organise everything from specific solidarity campaigns, to leafleting/postering and public meetings. Contact details are above.

Aims of the Wellington Workers’ Solidarity Network

  • To support workers fighting against injustice, for better wages, conditions and workers’ rights against both bosses and governments.
  • To build links between workers across different workplaces and industries, both inside and outside trade unions, between employed and unemployed workers struggles, and between struggles in the workplace and in the community.
  • To encourage and support the growth of strong, self-organised, active, workers’ organisations.
  • To organise ourselves in a way that is directly democratic, but that allows quick decisions to be made in relation to disputes when necessary by way of recallable, mandated delegates. This includes having no formal ties to any political party, union or ideology.
  • To maintain a large database of supporters and to mobilise them via text message, phone trees, emails and a website when their support is required at workplace actions
Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | September 22, 2011

Almost half of NZ workers want to quit

 

Wonder why so many of us wanna quit? Could it be horrible bosses perhaps?

 

Almost half of workers want to quit

Almost half of Kiwi workers want to quit their job in the next year, many because they’re sick of the systems and processes in their office, a survey shows.

The study of 7100 employees in New Zealand and Australia has painted an alarming picture of unhappy workers and frustrating workplaces.

Of those questioned, just 40 per cent were satisfied with their job, and 45 per cent were planning to look for another role in the next 12 months.

Only a third said they would recommend their employer.

James Garriock of Insync Surveys said the results were great news for head hunters but “scary” for employers.

Employees top gripes related to systems and processes, a frustrating reality for many workers, “but most people don’t know what other organisations offer in this area”, Mr Garriock said.

The best employers were those that offered the most attractive pay, benefits and conditions, followed by those that allowed their employees to have a better work-life balance.

The company’s reputation, once a key driver, was now not so important, he said.

The results are part of Insync’s Dream Employers Survey, which listed Google followed by Air New Zealand, Apple and Kiwibank as the companies New Zealanders would most like to work for.

The two New Zealand companies in the top five are both favoured for their culture and reputation.

Kiwibank chief executive Paul Brock said the organisation prioritised happiness in the workplace.

“We know how much time people spend in their lives at work, so it is important to us that they really enjoy their experience at Kiwibank,” he said.
Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | September 22, 2011

Revised poster

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | September 22, 2011

Employment law training

Yes, the Wellington Solidarity Network is still going, we just haven’t posted blog entries in a while. We intend to try and post various relevant pieces, including news, every couple of weeks. Just a reminder to those on our e-mail list that members of the network can get employment law training through the Wellington Community Law Centre.

The Wellington Community Law Centre invites community workers and community members with an interest in Employment Law to attend “Employment Law Training for Community Workers”.

The workshop will provide participants with  a working knowledge of key areas in Employment Law (including the 2010 Employment Relations Amendments), as well as advising how and where to access legal information.

Date    :           Thursday 29 September
Time   :           9.30am-4pm
Venu  :           Wellington Community Law Centre Level 2, 84 Willis Street, Wellington
Cost    :           Half Day: $20 per person Full Day: $25 per person

Morning Session: 9.30am – 12pm

  • Minimum Employment Rights
  • When things go wrong (unjustified dismissal, personal grievances, dispute resolution)

Afternoon Session: 12.45pm – 4pm

  • Redundancy
  • Health and Safety in Employment
  • Human Rights and Discrimination

To register contact Alex, WCLC Community Education Worker Tel: (04) 499 2928

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | June 16, 2011

Useful pamphlet

Seattle Solidarity (Seasol) have produced a nuts and bolts pamphlet on how to organise a Solidarity Network that is a very useful read. Have a look at http://zinelibrary.info/build-your-own-solidarity-network (pdf version) or a text only version at http://libcom.org/library/you-say-you-want-build-solidarity-network

We’ve put it in our resources page above.

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | May 17, 2011

Poster

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | December 15, 2010

Newsletter December 15 2010

Messages of solidarity to PSA members @ Housing NZ

Brad Pitt makes an unexpected appearance during a Housing NZ strike in Wellington earlier this year


From PSA Email “We are asking you to send a quick email message of support for PSA members at Housing NZ.

Yesterday [December 13] they  walked off the job until 2pm after management suspended two members for taking low-level industrial action. This is the second time that Housing NZ has singled out staff and suspended them.

Housing NZ recently trumpeted a rise in its profits ( see the youtube video <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIKyw10p7kQ&feature=player_profilepage>), this year up to $104 million. Yet many of the lowest-paid have not had a pay increase for two years and the Housing NZ redundancy package is one of the worst in the public sector.

As part of their industrial action, most members had a four-hour ban on answering phones and emails. This led to the second round of suspensions.

Delegates immediately held stopwork meetings and members voted to walk out. A request to Housing NZ to avert this action by lifting the suspensions was met by a refusal.

Members at Housing NZ are showing great determination and courage in very difficult circumstances. They would welcome messages of support from other PSA members. It doesn’t have to be long, just a brief message to lift their spirits. Email a message to: support@psa.org.nz

Subject: Support for members at Housing NZ”

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JB Hi-Fi Workers on Strike! - Friday 17th December

JB Hi Fi workers on strike, leading the Wellington May Day demo 2010

JB Hi-Fi workers have worked since the company opened in New Zealand without a payrise. Written requests for payrises have been ignored or refused. Collective Bargaining has stalled and members have been involved in rolling strikes since April 2010. Despite being a hugely successful Australian business and it’s never-ending expansion in New Zealand JB Hi-Fi say there is no money in the kitty.

Support Unite union members in strike and support their picket of the company: 12pm-3pm, Friday 17 December @ JB Hi-Fi Wellington, Cnr Lambton and Willis St

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Protest against TPP organised by TPP Action Group
Thursday 16th December

Meet at Midland Park, 12 noon, to march to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 195 Lambton Quay, Wellington

Are you concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP)?  Are you concerned about a so-called ‘free trade agreement’ across nine countries that would put a straightjacket around what policies and laws the government can adopt for the next 100 years?  Are you worried the effect this agreement could have in terms of allowing corporations to set the price of medicines? To have greater access to mining licences?  To end voluntary local content guidelines for media?  To restrict Treaty settlements?  Are you worried about increased privatisation of water, prisons, schools and hospitals?  Are you worried about rules that would allow foreign investors to sue governments, if a government passes a law that affects their profits?

Organised by TPP Action Group, a collection of union members opposed to the TPP.  For more information please email tppactiongroup@gmail.com

We will bring placards and a banner.  Feel free to bring your own too, and noisemakers!

To find out more about the TPP, check out this excellent website: http://tppwatch.org/

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International Solidarity Site:

http://www.labourstart.org/

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Deadly jeans sandblasting must end

The Solidarity Committee of Denim Sandblasting Labourers of Turkey and the Clean Clothes Campaign, supported by dozens of trade unions and labour-rights NGOs, demanded that jeans brands stop selling sandblasted jeans, and encouraged governments to investigate an importation ban. The call was launched at a press conference in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Nov. 27.

Organisations and individuals were urged to sign up to an online appeal that can be found at http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/killer-jeans

Jeans are sandblasted to give parts of the fabric a faded, worn out or bleached look. These jeans are profitable business: the retail prices of sandblasted jeans is often significantly higher than jeans without such finishings. Therefore, jeans producers think they found a cheap way of increasing their profits. However, there is a hidden cost: sandblasting operators working in the countries where most of our garments are produced – such as Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Egypt, and others – contract an acute form of silicosis. In Turkey alone, 46 known cases of former sandblasting operators who succumbed to sandblasting-related
silicosis were registered until the practice was banned by the government in March 2009. In reality the number could be far higher than the registered cases.

The current organisation of garment production through long international subcontracting chains, often based in countries where Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures are routinely violated, makes it impossible for jeans producers to guarantee the highly complicated and technically advanced safety procedures necessary to sandblast jeans in a safe way. Considering the very high OHS risks and fatal consequences of jeans sandblasting, we call on the jeans companies to phase out all jeans sandblasting from their supply chains.

Recently, jeans producer Levi-Strauss and fashion giant Hennes& Mauritz (H&M) have announced they will stop selling sandblasted jeans for this reason. Such positive signals are encouraging, and shows that the industry is ready to act on this issue. Still, actions by a few companies alone will not be enough to cover the entire sector. The organisations encourage governments to look into an importation ban for these jeans.

The Clean Clothes Campaign and its allies also called on jeans brands that still sell sandblasted jeans to start phasing out production with immediate effect. They ask consumers to tell brands they don’t want to buy killer jeans.

In Turkey, a successful campaign by the Solidarity Committee is currently aiming at their government to ensure that silicosis victims from the jeans industry are awarded a disablement pension, without distinguishing between workers in the formal or informal economy, and they won a court case about this issue last October. Recently, the Solidarity Committee drafted new legislation and submitted it to the Ministry of Labour, but the Ministry seems hesitant in taking up this issue actively.

The press conference in Istanbul took place right after the Clean Clothes Campaign’s International Forum that brought together over one hundred labour rights organisations, trade unions and women’s rights organisations that campaign for fair conditions in the garments industry. The organisations adopted a manifesto supporting the call for an end to the sandblasting of jeans and other textiles.

More info at: www.kotisceleri.org (English/Turkish)
http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/killer-jeans

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | November 24, 2010

Quick update

Hi all, sorry this website has not been updated for a while. This is just a note to let you know we are still going, having meetings and offering solidarity in various disputes. We’ve attended the big nationwide rally against the new employment law changes (about 5-6,000 in Wellington), attended pickets against the use of the 90 day fire at will bill and helped out with strike support for striking JB Hi-Fi workers and bank workers. Although it’s been pretty disheartening with the debacle of the Hobbit dispute, and that the 90 day fire at will bill has passed today, allowing all bosses to fire workers in the first 90 days of employment with no reason given, the nationwide pickets organised a while back by Solidarity (Auckland) against Burger Fuel showed us that we can at least stop some businesses from using the new bill. It shows us that the tactics of placing pressure on bosses can get results. Stay tuned for our next update. We’ve planned an action to support the JB Hi-Fi workers soon.

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | September 22, 2010

Update – 22 September 2010

Weekly JB-HiFi picket – Organised by Unite! Union (Note change in time)
Thursday 23rd September
Outside BNZ Centre in Willis Street
12pm-1pm

Support the ongoing struggle of JB HiFi workers!

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JB-HiFi support action – Organised by Wellington Workers’ Solidarity Network
Thursday 23rd September
Wellington Railway Station
4:30pm-5:30pm
Leafleting the Wellington Railway Station

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Wellington Workers’ Solidarity Meeting
We will meet at Wellington People’s Centre and then go to Enigma Cafe (previously Espressholic)
Tuesday September 28th, 7pm
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Draft Aims of the Wellington Workers’ Solidarity Network

* To support workers fighting against injustice, for better wages, conditions and workers rights against both bosses and governments.
* To build links between workers across different workplaces and industries, both inside and outside of trade unions, and between employed and unemployed workers struggles.
* To encourage and support the growth of strong, self-organised, active, workers organisations.
* To organise ourselves in a way that is directly democratic, but that allows quick decisions to be made in relation to disputes when necessary by way of a recallable, mandated, delegates. This includes having no formal ties to any political party, union or ideology.
* To maintain a large database of supporters and to mobilise them via text message, phone trees, emails and a website when their support is required at workplace actions.

Posted by: wellingtonsolidarity | September 13, 2010

Update #2

Wellington Workers’ Solidarity Meeting today

Wellington People’s Centre, Lukes Lane
Tuesday 14th of September
7pm-8:30pm
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Picket at Parliament – Organised by the PPTA
Parliament
Wednesday 15th of September
12:30-1:30pm

Secondary teachers from the Kapiti Coast, Hutt Valley and Wellington regions will be at the rally. The rally will involve speakers and then open mike. Members will be marching from Wellington High School at 11.30 am to the rally.

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Weekly JB-HiFi picket – Organised by Unite! Union

Friday 10th September
Outside BNZ Centre in Willis Street
1pm-2pm

Support the ongoing struggle of JB HiFi workers!

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