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

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