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May Day rally for four weeks’ leave

May Day rally for four weeks’ leave

Auckland workers will use tomorrow’s May Day march to highlight their call for a fourth week’s holiday.

Unions are planning a rally in Queen Elizabeth II Square at 5pm, followed at 5.30pm by a march up Queen St to Aotea Square.

The EPMU – the country’s largest trade union – is leading a campaign for all workers to get at least four week’s annual leave.

National secretary Andrew Little said that most managers and professionals got a minimum of four week’s leave, but many of those working for them did not.

“The very people who are arguing that the country can’t afford four week’s leave for all workers are already enjoying it themselves,” he said.

“They said the sky would fall in 1974 when annual holidays were increased from two weeks to three. It didn’t, and it won’t now.”

Comments today by Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett that employers and employees should be left to negotiate reasonable holidays showed a level of naivity about the way the system worked, Mr Little said.

“Employers have had decades to agree to decent holidays,” he said. “Most have failed to perform and it’s time for the Government to step in.”

The EPMU, an affiliate of the Labour Party, is supporting Progressive MP Matt Robson’s parliamentary bill for a fourth week’s leave.

Among the speakers at the May Day rally will be striking workers from the Kinleith pulp and paper mill.

What: May Day rally Where: QEII Square to Aotea Square, Queen St, Auckland When: 5pm, May 1, 2003

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