New Zealand

New Zealand’s National Party-led government announced on July 18 a law that would allow bosses to fire new workers at will, restrict access to unions, cut workers’ entitlements to sick leave and holidays, and remove the right to appeal against unfair sackings. On August 21, unions will respond with rallies across the country. The two most significant aspects of the government’s plans are the extension of 90-day “trial period” and a requirement for union organisers to gain permission from employers before visiting union members or potential recruits on the job.
Labour history was made as New Zealand had its first mall workers strike on May 25. Workers in JB Hi-Fi in Albany, organised with the Unite union, went on strike for better pay and against a culture of bullying and intimidation against union members. Unite had already organised the first strike at a JB Hi Fi store on April 16. Unite member Jack Lucas said: “Our manager told me that I would never get a pay rise if I stayed with the collective. There was a lot of pressure put on me to resign.
Labour history was made when New Zealand had its first shopping mall workers strike on May 25. Workers in JB Hi-Fi in Albany, organised by the militant Unite union, went on strike for better pay and against a culture of bullying and intimidation against union members. Workers at JB Hi-Fi haven't had a pay rise in 3 years, and now earn only 75c more than the new minimum wage. JB Hi-Fi is making record profits - up 29% this year to an estimated NZ$140 million.
The following joint statement of solidarity has been signed by a number of left and progressive organisations, in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. If your organisation would like to sign on, please email international@socialist-alliance.org * * * Support the struggle for democracy and social justice in Nepal May 6, 2010
A huge crowd of 50,000 people marched in Auckland on May 1 against the New Zealand government’s plans to allow mining in the country’s national parks. It was New Zealand’s biggest protest march in living memory. Greenpeace ambassador Robyn Malcolm said: “For nearly 50,000 Kiwis to turn out and be prepared to speak with one voice, must tell the government something ... Our land will always be more important to our identity than some extra dollars in the pockets of mining companies.”
JB Hi-Fi staff at the company’s Wellington store have engaged in a series of strikes and protests as part of a campaign by the Unite union to win higher wages for retail workers. The strikes are the first at one of the company's stores in either Australia or New Zealand in over 27 years of the company's history. The Unite Union has been negotiating with JB Hi-Fi management for over six months for a collective agreement but the Australian bosses are refusing to raise wages for staff this year.
The Residents’ Action Movement has been growing rapidly in the last month (with around 100-300 people joining per week) as a result of the popularity of their key campaign — to remove the 12.5% goods and services tax on food.
Below is a statement from the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Visit http://space4peace.org.
In a May 1 statement, Socialist Worker-New Zealand hailed the developing revolution in Venezuela, arguing it would have a profound impact on not just world politics, but on the international socialist movement. It urged all socialists to relate to the mass revolutionary movement headed by President Hugo Chavez, and in particular expressed solidarity with the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), a party of revolutionary militants being constructed to advance the revolution. SW-NZ urged socialists around the world to build solidarity with the revolution and seek to use the inspiration and example of the gains in Venezuela to advance the global struggle for “socialism of the 21st Century”.
Green Left Weekly’s Bronwyn Jennings, spoke with Vaughan Gunson, an activist with Socialist Worker (Aotearoa), which actively participates in the Residents Action Movement, about RAM’s activities in defence of peoples’ rights and against corporate greed.

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