Monday, September 25, 2006

Youth Rates Picket Against Labour.

A picket was held today calling for labout to support sue bradfords bill to get rid of youth rates. The picket was a response to a long silence by the labour party and a failure for the so called "workers party" to take a strong stand for young workers. Someone had told the labour party the picket was planned so when we got their the office was locked up, in response messages were left in chalk for the staff to read and pass on in the morning.The picket gained a high level of support from passing motorists and public who were leafleted. This action calling on labour to support workers rights was seen by thousands of people in rush hour traffic and comes at a time when labour are laready under the spotlight. Police were noticeably absent and may have been told not to make a scene out of the protest. Actions calling for labour to abolish youth rates are planned in future as the date for voting on sue bradfords bill draws nearer. Their was a good cross union presence at the picket with solidarity and unite present as well as various union members. This is a fight for all young workers and labour will be targeted until they state their support for the abolishment of youth rates.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lockout ends

The lockout of supermarket distribution workers has ended with workers and progressives coming to a settlement. The settlement comes after workers were locked out for a month, under the settlement the lowest paid workers get a 19.7% pay rise and workers achieved one of their key aims - pay parity across the country. This has been described as one of the biggest actions of our generation and has drawn unions together like i have never experienced. On the news tonight a long piece centered around a family which got to the point where they could not afford to feed their kids and overall the media have been quite sympathetic. As part of the collective agreement progressives are providing interest free loans of $1000 to workers who are struggling to make ends meet. The damage to progressives wrought by this action would run into the tens of millions of dollars and it will take the brand a while to recover from weeks of half fill and empty shelves. This was an attempt by a multi national to deny workers a chance for collective bargaining by a company that thought it could out last its low paid workers. It will be interesting to see how the unions bargain in future and if employers attempt to try these sort of tactics in the next few years. Progressives have succeeded in radicalising an entire community in south Auckland and throughout the country, thousands have been directly affected and tens of thousands have been indirectly affected. Those that have suffered empty shelves and weeks of stress will not quickly forget this lockout and will not forget the role the union has played in getting a fair settlment

Friday, September 15, 2006

NDU And Progressives Agree over Supermarket Workers

Just a quick update, the National Distribution Union has just come to an agreement with Progressives covering progressives over 4,000 supermarket workers though this has not been agreed to by workers yet. Unfortunately this agreement does not cover the 500 locked out distribution workers and progressives appears to be set on starving them out. I do not have details of the agreement yet as workers have not yet voted on it. It is suprising that this agreement came so quickly (less than a week) and Laila Harre put this down to bargaining. I only hope that Progressives are the one who backed down here and that the union has not settled for a low offer before industrial action could be taken.

Photo from NDU picket a while ago.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Photo's
Photos taken on the 20th day of action. Their is now a general feeling that this action will go on for several months as the company is still refusing to negotiate.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

20 Days

After 20 days progressives have made their first offer, at 3.5%. This is to workers who have been locked out for 17 days and who have had their wages drop by well over a quarter in the past 7 years as the price of food, petrol and accomodation has risen dramatically. The rate of inflation is 3.4% so the message being sent to workers is shut us down for 30 days and you might get .1% more than inflation takes away. The offer was unanimously rejected by workers one of whom told me how he was completely ready to wait 6 more weeks to get their demands met. The lockout is costing stores up to $50,000 a week and is thought to be costing progressives $35-40 million a week as well as untold damage to the brands owned by progressives. The locked out workers are getting strong suport from other unions particularly the maritime union in NZ as well as unions in Australia, the United State's and Europe. Despite strong public support all those i talked to are struggling to make ends meet and most are relying on family to keep going. The workers in mangere are not going to back down and are willing to bankrupt the company rather than give up their demands. Call 0900 lockout to give an automatic $20 donation.

Overpriced Poisoned Land

Today i bumped into and talked to a valuer for a private client about the land across from me today. Based on recent sales in the area he thinks its going to go for over 2 million dollars but development wone begin for a few years. The entire site and most of mangere this guy was saying is contaminated with agrichemicals (he gave the example of DDT) so the top 600mm or so of soil will be bulldozed off and put in a landfill. Which is a pity because its nice soil and via bioremediation it could well be used to grow food in future. He says is destined for mid density low quality housing so the developer can make a quick profit.
Predatory wasp (i think) and a member of the carrot family. On the vacant land

Fruit tree's which once surounded a house on the vacant lot.
Empty Shelves at Supermarket Distribution Center

Shelves are still empty and stock is being spread round to make it look like they are full at newmarket supermarker, one of the supermarkets being used as a distribution center. The lockout is annoying customers and all the supermarket workers i have talked to speak of complaints. No one really seems to have any clue how long this lockout may go for and i doubt makeshift distribution centers could ever fill the demand at supermarkets. Noticably absent are the snack foods and drinks and the wine. Filler stock stacked one or two items deep to make the ends of rows appear full.
Snacks section fairly bare.

Almost empty drinks fridge, lots of dented V cans as well. The lack of drinks could be because frucor beverages are negotiating with their workers and their workers dont want to do progressives work until negotiations end.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Pictures From The Past Two Days
A rumour is going round that maritime workers have unfortunatly been losing progressives stock. If this was intentional then it would be illegal and the union would be in some trouble. Either way this would be pissing progressives off and would be adding to the ever increasing cost of this strike :) good on the unions for getting behind this struggle against a transnational trying to smash the union.

Workers queing for food vouchers, donations have been coming in well especially from unions such as the maritime union. Collecting money ouside supermarkets with bucets is also working well with reports that up to a thousand dollars have been gathered outside a store in wellington. Most worers are getting some financial assistance from social welfare which helps but with no end in sight and workers talking of action till christmas financial assistance is vital.

Workers Block Trucks

Workers today blocked trucks from entering they grey lynn supermarket which is being used as a distribution center, the driver was told by managment that it was his choice as to whether he turned back or not. Eventually after about 5 minutes of blocking the road he decided to turn back and drive off. Sveral other drivers were turned away by our presence. We need all the support we can get come to 80 favona road to join pickets or to give donations or phone 0900 lock out to give a $20 donation.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Disrupt Graffiti Crew on the picket

Some of the most talented graffiti artists did a bomb in favona in support of the locked out progressives workers. The piece was greatly appreciated and was used as the backdrop for a live cross on three news that night. The speed and skill of the two artists was stunning and the finished work is one of the best i have ever seen. The piece highlighted the wide support base for the locked out workers and helped lift morale and brighten the place up.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Huge action on the picket line in otahu

In otahu this evening 50 workers blocked the entrance to the toll logistics distribution center in otahu for 4 - 5 hours. As a truck entered the driver swung a metal poll at workers almost hitting them, in retaliation the workers threw eggs at the trucks and two trucks had tyres punctured. Around 8 police cars were present and police aggravated the situation through random arrests and illegal holds. 9 people were arested with an officer pointing out who to arrest and targeting delegates and those percieved to be in charge od suspected reds. This officer had previously talked about how he hated reds and wanted to arrest them. Those arrested were held for a few hours and charged with things like resisting blocking a road etc and have court in the next week. All arrested are planning to fight their charges and are continuing action on the picket line.

A 2 hour long occupation at the quay st foodtown took place today as well with university students occupying the supermarket and informing the public of the strike action. Flying pickets have also occured at numerous supermarkets around Auckland in the past few days.

A graffiti crew is creating a 6m long work tomorrow at the distribution center in mangere at midday and their is a march in support of workers at mangere town center at midday on saturday.

Negotiations are beggining to seriously occur according to rumours and their is hope that this strike can end soon, workers are attending winz seminars and getting lots of donations of food. Workers are finding the lockout hard and donations are gratefully excepted, food and money can be donated via the green offices on new north road the picket line at 80 favona road mangere or on 0900 lockout.

The maritime union are threatening to stop unloading any containers thought to be heading to progressives supermarkets and Australian unions are contemplating actions in solidarity with the locked out workers. Their is also talk of other workers in NZ going on strike but nothing has been substantiated.

come out and join the picket at 80 favona road this weekend

Monday, September 04, 2006

11 Days
The campaign is still going strong after 11 days without pay, workers are atending winz seminars and a meeting was held tonight to talk through the workers situations with their husbands and wives and to keep all the workers up to speed on issues. The still refusing to negotiate and it is becoming increasingly clear that this is a campaign to destroy the union at this site. Food town is putting up posters at supermarkets lieing about the unions campaign demands and failing to mention that it is progressives that are refusing to negotiate and that have locked workers out, when the workers saw one of these posters it really pissed them off. Their is a feeling of hurt amongst these workers some who have worked for progressives for over 15 years that the company would do this to them. I was talking to one worker last night and he was explaining how the strike had gone so far that the best solution would be to bankrupt the distribution centers and simply shut them down and take redundancy payouts, he then went and got a food parcel and on coming back explained it was for his childrens lunch. An 0900 number is being set up for these workers tomorrow and their is a march down queen st on saturday in support of the distribution workers.