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Alliance Demanding Right To Address Union Forum

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday 30 September 2008

The Alliance Party is demanding the right to speak at a Wellington Union forum.

The Council of Trade Unions is holding a workers election forum on Thursday 9 October 2008, 12 - 2 pm at the Main Hall, St John’s in the City, corner Willis and Dixon Street, Wellington. But the Alliance has been turned away.

Alliance Party Wellington Central candidate Richard Wallis is fuming that he has been turned down in favour of anti-worker candidates from ACT and the National Party.

"As a working secondary teacher and an active unionist with the PPTA, I am outraged that I am being stopped from addressing fellow unionists who will instead hear from anti-union, anti-worker parties like ACT, National and United."

"The Maori Party have said they will cut a deal with National, and they get an invite. But not the Alliance."

"The Alliance will fight National tooth and claw. We would offer critical support to a Labour Government if re-elected to Parliament, while rejecting Labour policies such as free trade, student debt and tax cuts for the rich."

Mr Wallis says if it wasn't for the Alliance, Kiwibank and Paid Parental Leave would never have been introduced.

"The argument that only parties in Parliament should have speaking time is garbage. There are a lot of parties in Parliament that are anti-union. Why is the CTU promoting them? They should be helping the Alliance get back into Parliament."

Mr Wallis says he will attend the debate regardless and would accept a last minute invitation to speak.

"The Alliance is 100% pro-union and all we want is the opportunity to speak to workers."

Alliance Party Dunedin North candidate Victor Billot says he has been invited to attend a CTU forum in Dunedin and can't understand why this is a problem in Wellington.

"As a member of the Maritime Union, I resent that ACT and the National Party are promoting their policies at a Union forum and the Alliance has been excluded. Alliance candidates have been supporting workers and unions for years, as union members and on picket lines during disputes."

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 st
rike: 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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