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Nothing Progressive about Ripping Off Workers

Tuesday 12 September 2006

Hone Harawira
Maori Party Employment Spokesperson

'Nothing Progressive about Ripping Off Workers'

It's been twenty days without a pay cheque for many of these workers," said Hone Harawira, Employment Spokesman for the Maori Party, speaking about the workers locked out by Progressive Enterprises, "and it's bound to be hurting them and their families too."

"And you can't help but want to support them when you hear that the boss of Woolworths Australia, gets more in one day than a checkout operator gets in a whole year," said Mr Harawira.

"All the workers are asking for is the same rate of pay at the different workplaces around Aotearoa. They're all in the same union, and doing the same job for the same company," said Harawira "but Progressive refuses to pay, and has locked them out until they give up their right to bargain."

"And employers thinking that this may be a push for old-style militant unionism should stop scare-mongering and look at the facts. The issue is simple; the workers want pay parity, and the multi-national says no."

"As a nation, we should be challenging the huge income gaps between the workers in Aotearoa and the bosses in Australia, especially in light of this government's own report that poverty is actually increasing in our country."

"It takes a lot of guts for these workers to stay out on the picket line to fight for the rights of all workers," said Mr Harawira, "and we congratulate those unions who have come out in support of the picketers."

"I called out to the picket-line in Mangere the other day, and it was heartening to see how strong they all were," said Harawira.

"I know this is hurting them, and hurting their whanau, who already suffer the effects of low pay. But I know too of the widespread support from Maori and Pacific workers in South Auckland, and the growing support from unions both here and in Australia. I want them to know that the Maori Party stands with them in this struggle and will be doing all we can, to support their claim for pay parity."


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