July 18, 2006
We’re back, union warns National
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union kicks off its biennial conference today with a celebration of a triumphant two years and a determination to torpedo a National Party-led attack on working conditions.
The success of the Five in ’05 wages campaign, the campaign to stop Air New Zealand sending most of its engineering work overseas, the establishment of a national coal miners’ agreement and now the Work Rights, Our Right! campaign to stop National’s no-rights-for-new-workers bill all showed what a determined and cohesive union movement could do, national secretary Andrew Little told delegates at the conference opening in Wellington this morning.
“Unions are back,” he said.
“If anyone doubts it, let them look at what we’ve done over the past two years.”
Mr Little paid tribute to the people who had worked so hard to rebuild a movement almost shattered during the 1990s.
“They threw a lot at us, but in the end all they did was add steel to our resolve.
“Today we are a union and a movement that is stronger than ever because every single member knows why he or she belongs, and is prepared to stand up and take what action is needed.”
Conference delegates will take part in the lunchtime rally outside Parliament on Thursday to protest over the National Party’s Employment Relations (Probationary Period) Amendment Bill.