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Mana - We Support the Wharfies

Hone Harawira
Leader of MANA

19th January 2012

We Support the Wharfies

“MANA supports wholeheartedly the rights of the wharfies who work for the Port of Auckland,” states MANA leader Hone Harawira. Harawira says “Workers across the country need to wake up and smell the coffee - if the wharfies loose this fight then the casualisation of working hours will become a permanent feature of employment in this country. Everybody who earns a low to middle income job will have to wait by their phones for their boss to call to see if they are working or not, not knowing how many hours they will work and be paid for each week?”

“As a country we should be doing our utmost to back our wharfies. Despite the efforts of National and the country?s media to make this dispute about money, this is all about having reliable and stable employment. The workers want to know that they have a set number of hours per week. If it was about the money why would they only want to settle for a 2.5% pay rise when they are being offered 10%? What I don?t understand is why the workers are being held responsible for risks to the business. Tony Gibson will get his huge salary each week no matter what and the Council wants a 12% return on capital no matter what. It is the wharfies who are expected to pay the price each week if business is down. Under any other business regime, the owner is the one who takes the risk, not the workers!

“As for politicians saying that we should not get involved, what a load of crap. This dispute became political when Rodney Hide set up the appointments of the Board of Directors for the port. Auckland Mayor Len Brown needs to step up to the mark and back the workers - after all the port is Auckland?s asset. The owners of any business have a duty to make sure their managers treat their workers fairly?

“In 1951 there was a watershed strike involving wharfies. Today we are faced with another defining moment regarding employment rights in this country. Rest assured that if the wharfies loose then this right wing Government will see it as an endorsement to go ahead with the casualisation of hours and it will be another blow to the union movement, a movement that has for so long protected blue collar workers?”

ENDS

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