Thursday, 8 May 2008

Future of the NZ union movement does not belong with the Labour Party

Matt McCarten's latest article in the NZ Herald titled Junior doctors deserve support from CTU - not back-stabbing (4 May 2008) is well worth reading. 

Matt raises the possibility that CTU president Helen Kelly's public attacks on striking junior doctors and the head of their union, Deborah Powell, stems from the fact that the CTU president is more interested in looking after her mates in government than workers. 

This cuts to the heart of the crucial political question facing workers and the union movement: to stay with Labour and its ever-so-slim differences from the Nats, or embark on a political journey which has its goal a mass broad left alternative to neo-liberalism? 

As long as the Labour Party holds sway over the union movement our political horizons will be cut short. 

Building a larger and more confident union movement in this country is tightly tied to a wider political struggle, one that involves a new broad left party that can challenge the Labour and National duopoly. 

RAM has been holding stalls in working class South Auckland collecting signatures for its GST-off-food petition and signing up new members. At these stalls grassroots people commonly voice their cynicism towards Labour politicians - and this is supposed to be Labour's heartland. 

People are worried and angry about rising living costs. They believe, quite rightly, that the politicians are more interested in looking after the rich than listening to them. It's this mood which is fueling RAM's phenomenal membership growth - over 1,600 in less than a month, mostly from South Auckland suburbs like Manurewa

It's early days yet, but these people represent the future. RAM wants to talk to unionists about building a broad left alternative to the Labour Party. Come out on a RAM stall and hear what the people are saying. 

Contact RAM chair Grant Morgan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With typically twisted logic, Helen Kelly tries her hand at strike breaking:

[The doctors strike] "is doing little to defend the important principle of the right to strike".

"There are alternatives to getting workplace issues resolved. [The RDA] is offered one avenue and that's through industrial negotiations," Kelly said.

"I hope it doesn't give unions a bad name. They have the right to strike, but I would like to see them engaged in the broad range of issues that face the health sector and that the other unions are currently trying to resolve."

"They never really formalised themselves into what a modern union is. I think unions generally recognise their duty to participate in social issues and health is a social issue.

"What I think it does is all their issues come onto the table in bargaining."

Resident Doctors leader Deborah Powell hits back:

"They're coming from a basis of ignorance and I believe it is motivated by political reasons. The CTU is more interested in protecting friends in cabinet."