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Pay rise 'insult to minimum wage workers'

WORKERS CHARTER
media release 21.12.05

Pay rise 'insult to minimum wage workers'

The Workers Charter calls the 75 cents increase "an insult to minimum wage workers", saying that "anything less than $12 an hour is a poverty wage, pure and simple".

Speaking from the thick of a lightning strike today at KFC Lincoln Road, Workers Charter activst and Unite union organiser Joe Carolan warned: "There would be more lightning strikes to come over the Christmas period."

"Most young workers will not be happy and will not give up until we get the $12 an hour basic minimum. On the picket line at KFC Lincoln Road, workers chanted '75 cents- bull shit!' and '2008 - far too late!'

"Workers Charter will listen to the voices of young people on the picket lines, unlike the Labour Party MPs. They haven't even abolished unjust youth rates - some Labour Party that doesnt't believe in equal pay for equal work! These people are out of touch if they think 75 cents will stop this fast food rebellion."

"We are saying supersize my pay dot com!" said Joe Carolan.

Reprinted below - draft text of Workers Charter, whose ten-point "bill of rights" was endorsed by the Council of Trade Unions on 1st December.

Draft text of Workers Charter

Every worker is a human being who deserves the right to dignity.

For that right to be at the heart of our society, workers need economic justice and democratic control over our future.

But what motivates society today is the selfish right of a privileged few to gather wealth from the productive majority.

Workers are mere commodities, exploited and discarded like any other. Our status in society is worsened by market competition, free trade and commercialisation of public assets.

The wealth of New Zealanders on the Rich List skyrockets. Meanwhile the living standards of the majority fall, and one in three children grow up in poverty here in Aotearoa.

Wars of conquest to control global resources, like the US colonisation of Iraq, expand corporate wealth and power at the cost of mass bloodshed and suffering.

Profit-driven exploitation of the environment is fueling global warming, an oil crisis and other threats to life on our planet.

The end result is massive growth in social inequality and environmental destruction. Our humanity and our environment have been sacrificed to the god of profit. Our ability to resist is undermined by laws that ban most strikes.

As a positive alternative, the Workers Charter promotes these core democratic rights:

1. The right to a job that pays a living wage and gives us time with our families and communities.

2. The right to pay equity for women, youth and casual workers.

3. The right to free public healthcare and education, and to liveable superannuation and welfare.

4. The right to decent housing without crippling mortgages and rents.

5. The right to public control of assets vital to community well-being.

6. The right to protect our environment from corporate greed.

7. The right to express our personal identity free from discrimination.

8. The right to strike in defence of our interests.

9. The right to organise for the transfer of wealth and power from the haves to the have-nots.

10. The right to unite with workers in other lands against corporate globalisation and war.

These rights can only be secured by workers organising to extend democracy into every sphere of the economy and the state. This will involve the complete transformation of our society to serve the needs of the majority rather than the greed of the minority.

The privileged few will resist fiercely. They will use their economic and political power to try to deny workers our rights.

A mass mobilisation around the Workers Charter can give us the strength to win the battle for democracy and reclaim our human dignity.

END


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