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.
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:
- 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.
- 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:
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).
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!
• If you want to join our e-mail and text message list, to help with pickets, please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org. 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