Monday, July 09, 2018

Solidarity with the Strikers

The first Labour government in a decade is facing a wave of strike action in New Zealand, as thousands of nurses, teachers, and government staffers prepare to walk off the job.

On Monday 4,000 employees at Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment stopped work for two hours, demanding better pay. “This isn’t a decision our members have taken lightly, but they feel they have no choice but to take industrial action,” said Public Service Association secretary Glenn Barclay. “To put it into perspective, members at Internal Revenue have not taken strike action in 22 years.”

After months of negotiations, the government’s latest pay offer to nurses was rejected in June, and a nationwide, 24-hour strike is planned for Thursday. Nurses say they are overworked and underpaid, and hospitals are chronically understaffed. Nurses have not gone on strike in New Zealand for 30 years.

Primary school teachers have also voted overwhelmingly to strike for half a day on 15 August, their first strike action in more than 24 years.
Unite union senior organiser Joe Carolan said, “In the public sector ... some voices are saying this is not the right time to strike as we have a friendly government. So you wonder - when is the right time?” 

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