CTU MEDIA RELEASE
21 March 2008
Fairness at work as relevant as ever 100 years on, says CTU
"New Zealanders' right to fairness at work is still as relevant a fight as ever, 100 years on from the crib strike in Blackball," Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today, ahead of centenary celebrations on the West Coast this weekend.
"100 years on from when miners in Blackball struck for a decent meal break, New Zealand workers are still organising industrially and politically for better conditions at work."
"The last 8 years through the eyes of workers have seen steady improvements to their lives and unions want to keep building better and stronger work rights, through improvements in areas like paid parental leave, protections for casual workers and tackling excessive hours and low pay."
"Like the miners in 1908, workers today see the value of collective action. A strong and unified union movement stood up to the attacks on work rights during the 2006 and 2007 lockouts of hundreds of low paid workers in supermarket supply chains and the country's hospitals, and forced the companies to back down on their attempts to bully and starve workers into submission."
"In this election year, the combined union political strategy the CTU launched late last year seeks to know where all political parties stand on the protection and enhancement of work rights, stronger public services and higher wages. And importantly, we want to know what they plan to do about them."
"The distinctions between political parties on work rights are becoming clear, following announcements earlier in the month from National which included entrenching a 90 days No-Rights period and reduced statutory holiday pay," Helen Kelly said.