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Alliance to challenge 'lockout' from Union Meeting

Alliance to challenge 'lockout' from Canterbury Union Meeting

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday 30 September 2008

Christchurch Alliance Party candidates for the 2008 General Election will be leafleting outside the Christchurch CTU 'Meet the Parties' Meeting at the Woolston Working Mens Club at 6.30pm tonight Tuesday 30 September after being told that they could not attend.

Alliance Party Canterbury Convenor Quentin Findlay says the the local Council of Trade Unions leadership has locked the Alliance out of the debate.

He says Alliance members would be picketing the venue and would accept a last minute invitation to speak.

"All we are asking is for a chance to speak. No special treatment, we just to want to talk to the workers."

Mr Findlay says the Alliance is a strongly pro-worker party that strongly supports the Union movement, and had not taken the decision to go public lightly.

"We find it strange that Unions Canterbury have invited parties such as ACT and National to promote their anti-union policies to an audience of workers while pro-worker parties like the Alliance are treated with contempt."

Mr Findlay says John Key and Helen Clark have shown how they are against open debate on the TV, and the stifling of debate and democracy seems to be a theme for the election.

He says that to add insult to injury, the latest pamphlets from the CTU has ignored the Alliance's achievements such as Kiwi Bank and Paid Paternal Leave in the Alliance - Labour Government of 1999 to 2002.

Mr Findlay says the Alliance has gained the support of other unionists to speak at the debate, as the national president of the Maritime Union had offered his support.

Mr Findlay said the reply the Alliance had received from Unions Canterbury was unacceptable and said the Council of Trade Unions should step in nationally to make a ruling.

He said a number of Canterbury Alliance candidates had strong union backgrounds and he was sure that workers would want to hear from the Alliance.

"We back Unions 100%, but if the leadership is going to make wrong decisions then we will hold them to account."

Alliance Party Dunedin North candidate Victor Billot, who is a union official, says he has had no problems with being invited to a similar Union event in Dunedin.

"As a union official I can't understand why a pro-worker, pro-Union party like the Alliance is being frozen out of the Christchurch debate in favour of National and ACT."

The goal of the Alliance workers rights policy is secure, well-paid jobs. The Alliance will help workers in low-paid and insecure jobs, reduce the working week and increase the minimum wage.

•The Alliance will increase the minimum wage to $17 per hour.

• We will introduce a 35-hour working week with no loss of pay.

• We will immediately introduce five weeks' annual leave.

• We will introduce greater protections for casual workers.

• We will ensure responsible contracting - where private business gets public money to deliver services, they will be required to meet national standards in pay and conditions.

• We will improve paid parental leave - workers who become primary caregivers should get 12 months' paid parental leave and their partners should get two weeks' paid parental leave.

• We support the right to strike: workers should have the right to strike to enforce their Collective Agreement, to oppose layoffs, to support other workers and for political reasons.

• Workers should have a say in the way work is organised. We will push for stronger employment legislation to ensure greater workplace democracy.

• We will ensure genuine full employment promoted by public-financed regional economic development and public works' programmes.


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