August 26, 2008
Thousands to rally for work rights in Manukau tomorrow
Thousands of union members will converge on Manukau’s TelstraClear Pacific Stadium tomorrow to rally for stronger work rights and higher wages in the lead up to this year’s general election.
The rally kicks off at 1pm and is expected to be the largest of 25 rallies across New Zealand this month as part of the EPMU’s Work Rights Wage Drive.
At the rally members will vote on the EPMU’s Work Rights Checklist, which lays out the minimum standards the union expects to see from all political parties this election.
The rally will be addressed by EPMU national secretary Andrew Little, Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly, Service and Food Workers Union northern regional secretary Jill Ovens and rank and file union members.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the strong message from all 21 rallies so far is that work rights are a major issue for working families.
“We’ve been out talking with thousands of our members around the country over the last few weeks and the message we’re getting from the timber yards, the engineering shops, the call centres and the factories is that work rights are a major issue for workers this election.
“Workers know that the only way we’re going to be able to keep up with the rising cost of living and win a better way of life for ourselves and our families is through decent wage increases, and that’s simply not possible without a strong framework of work rights.
“It is to be expected that the union movement, and the EPMU in particular, have come under increasing political attack from the right in recent times because of our consistent stand for stronger work rights and our opposition to those who would undermine or weaken them.
“Given their policy is to remove fundamental rights from Kiwi workers it’s no surprise that National and ACT are trying to tie us up with frivolous law suits and cheap publicity stunts rather than engaging with the real issues.
“We’re focused on the issues that matter, as are the thousands of EPMU members who will be taking time off work tomorrow to attend our rally in Manukau.”
The EPMU is New Zealand’s largest private sector union, representing 50,000 members across eleven industries.
For more information about the Work Rights Wage Drive, including a copy of the Work Rights Checklist, visit www.workrights.org.nz.