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Union Calls For 5 Days Of Christmas

MEDIA STATEMENT

For immediate release 29 November 1999

UNION CALLS FOR 5 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED THE MOST UNDER NATIONAL PARTY RULE

UNITE!, the community based union representing unemployed and low paid workers is calling on the new Government to take immediate steps to assist those people who have suffered the most following nine years of anti-worker National Party rule.

"Unlike the National Party and its allies we are not greedy. We would be happy for five of the twelve days of Christmas to be dedicated to alleviating the hardship for those who have suffered the most," said Robert Reid, President of UNITE!. "The five days of Christmas that we want are:

- an immediate increase in the minimum wage as a step towards establishing new minimum wage fixing machinery

- an additional one weeks benefit to all beneficiaries at Christmas as a step towards increasing all benefits by at least $20 in the new year

- the abolition of compulsion and sanctions of the current work for the dole scheme as a step towards its replacement by a genuine job creation scheme

- the placing of WINZ into "peoples receivership" as a step towards implementing a complete change of policy and culture so that WINZ serves the interests of beneficiaries (its so-called clients) rather than the interests of top management

- the establishment of an ACC hot-line and a requirement for ACC to accept interim liability for the hundreds of current disputed claims as a step towards the re-establishment of a comprehensive, public provided ACC system."

UNITE! secretary Caroline Hatt said that in the medium term UNITE! was expecting a repeal to the Employment Contracts Act, the reduction of state house rentals, the scrapping of the high unemployment rate settings of the Reserve Bank and Government leadership in economic development and job creation.

"The addressing of these issues will have a significant positive affect on unemployed and low wage workers," Caroline Hatt said. "The people of Aotearoa / NZ voted last Saturday for a change. If the new Government adopts our 5 point pre-Christmas programme it will be indicating to the electorate that it is prepared to carry out their wishes."

UNITE! has written to the Labour and Alliance Parties with its five point pre Christmas programme and together with other unemployed and beneficiary advocacy groups is hoping to meet with appropriate Ministers as soon as they are appointed.

For further information please contact: Robert Reid tel: (04) 237 5062 (w), (04) 389 5399 Caroline Hatt tel: (04) 237 5062 (w), (04) 380 1104


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