Saturday, 2 August 2008

Why doesn't the EPMU's Work Rights Checklist include the right to strike?

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little. His lips are sealed on NZ workers being denied their most basic right: the right to strike.

by Auckland union activist

The EPMU have released their work rights list. This list, which the EPMU describe as a basic checklist, omits the most basic of all work rights. I have read this list carefully, and missing even from the footnotes and small print, is the right to strike.

This is amazing, as the EPMU has been recently hammered because of the restrictions of the right to strike in defence of their members at Air New Zealand and Fisher & Paykel.

I wonder why on earth this basic right of workers, which is enshrined in the UN charter of workers rights, has been glaringly omitted from the EPMU’s Work Rights.

This omission raises some serious questions of the EPMU leadership.

Did the EPMU leadership leave out this most basic of work rights from their list because the EPMU leadership think that the right to strike is not an important work right? Do they really think workers and unions can make any gains, or even defend themselves, without the right to strike?

Is the EPMU leadership comfortable with the ban on strikes in the ERA?

Or is this omission because they don't want to embarrass the Labour Party, who have refused to repeal the restrictions on the right to strike which were at the heart of the ECA, and have instead increased the restrictions on the right to strike?

At some level I think the EPMU leadership probably believes in each one of these reasons for not championing the right to strike. But the most important one is the last.

See EPMU’s Work Rights Checklist


Anonymous said...

The EPMU policy seems to be one of don't strike, just vote labour.

Except of course when labour is in power; Then it becomes, don't strike you'll embarrass the Labour Government.

Anonymous said...

My child's copy of 'Junior World Encyclopedia' in the section, Sta-Tua, under the heading Trade Unions, says this:

"Trade unions are organizations or associations of workers. They are formed to protect the working conditions and increase the wages of workers."

"A trade union normally bargains with employers and reaches an agreement as to the wages that will be paid. This is called negotiating. When an agreement cannot be reached the employer may refuse to employ or pay his men, unless they accept his terms, this is called a lock-out. When the trade union stops its members working, in order to get their way, it is called a strike."

"The right to strike is considered to be a democratic right. Without it trade unions would become useless and workers defenceless against their employers."

To help them out, I’m prepared to donate my son's complete starter copy of 'Junior World Encyclopedia' to the EPMU.My son has long ago moved onto using computers and the internet.