Prue Hyman reminds us again that Labour promises more than it delivers – not surprising when it is so tied to orthodox economics, balanced budgets, and not raising total taxes.
So that it handicaps itself from making desirable increases in government expenditure, she says.
‘A long way to go’
In her second column for this month, Prue says we need to remember that there is a long way to go to restore some degree of fairness to pay levels and reduce inequality and discrimination.
Teachers and junior doctors are among those striking to restore pay levels and reduce shortages and huge workloads. It is ironic that it is under a
Labour led government, of which these groups reasonably expect more than under National, that such strikes tend to occur.
Labour’s phony ‘progressive’ facade
Some go further than this. John Braddock of the Socialist Equality Group argues rightly that the government has presented a phoney “progressive” façade, while implementing the austerity agenda dictated by big business.
The amended Employment Relations Act continues to outlaw strikes, except during collective contract negotiations, or over health and safety issues, as well as “good faith” bargaining provisions.
Employers still favoured
The 90-day “trial” period for new hires has been ended only in larger firms with over 20 workers. While the position of unions was slightly improved, employers can still unilaterally opt out of multi-employer collective agreement bargaining. (see http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1901/S00089/labour-government-entrenches-anti-worker-measures.htm)
He goes on to say: “The plummeting social position of the working class, and ongoing strangulation of workers’ struggles requires nothing less than a complete political break from Labour and the establishment parties, and a rebellion against the union bureaucrats, who function as tools of management and the government.
New organisations, rank-and-file workplace committees democratically controlled by workers themselves, must be built in a fight for a workers’ government and socialist policies.” It’s refreshing to know there is still trenchant Left politics alive in New Zealand.
The groundbreaking Domestic Violence Act
Meanwhile, the first of this month (1 April), also saw the groundbreaking Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act come into effect.
This provides support at work for employees affected by domestic violence, including paid leave and an ability to request short term changes to working arrangements. It applies to employees who experience or have experienced domestic violence themselves or who live with one or more children who has experienced it.
Jan Logie, who has done sterling work in this area, thanking all those who had pushed for this said:
“Domestic Violence workplace protections provide an important milestone towards a safer society… This is a practical law change based on the experience of victims and survivors and employers.”
Not a mention there that it is almost entirely women who need such protection: use of the terms domestic and family violence does tend to hide the fact that most of such violence is perpetrated by men on their female partners.