Monday, August 28, 2006

All Stick Together Now

I've been following the Distribution Workers strike all weekend, and hearing fantastic stories from the picket lines. But the company has escalated and locked the workers out. It's really important that we win this battle - the distribution workers currently have different rates at all four sites, and are fighting for a national agreement. The Employer has locked them out until they drop their claim for a national agreement.

We would appreciate any financial and moral support that can be given to these low paid workers who are trying to negotiate a single national agreement to close the gap of up to $2.50 an hour between the sites.

Please send you pledges of financial assistance and your messages of support to Laila Harré on

Picket lines are in place as follows – please spend some time with the workers there:

· Auckland 80 Favona Rd Mangere (24 hours)
· Palmerston North Supply Chain on the corner of Mako mako Rd and Mihaere Dr
· Christchurch Supply Chains on Shands Rd and Columbo St
You can also deposit money directly at 02-0200-0217968-00 with the reference “Supply Chain” (check out the official press release)

Keep an eye out for indymedia and Shelf Respect for updates(I still can't decide whether I love or hate that pun).


  1. Anonymous7:48 pm

    Also check out - John, who lives just down the road from the distribution centre, has been keeping a photoblog of the strike action (and other strike and protest activity)

  2. Anonymous8:09 pm

    Ever considered the reason these low paid workers are low paid might be because thats all they are worth?

    Ever considered that striking reduces their value to the organisation...

    If they were serious about increasing their income maybe they should consider doing something to better themselves or add value to the organisation....

    I mean if they are worth so much.. why don't they up and quit, surely another employer will pay them more.. that is..unless another employer won't - meaning their services aren't worth the rise they are striking for.

  3. "Ever considered the reason these low paid workers are low paid might be because thats all they are worth?"

    So you're saying the status quo is just perfect, it's those pesky workers who are messing everything up with their unreasonable demands for a living wage and better working conditions? Under that logic, you'd presumably think the slaves in 19th century America should never have fought for freedom, because slavery was all they were worth.

  4. Anonymous9:49 pm

    If they are worth so much, surely theres a better job elswhere thats prepared to pay them.

    Otherwise they aren't worth that much are they?

    I've never had to strike, and always been able to negotiate a pay rate - because I earnt it, I didn't demand it.

  5. Anonymous9:51 pm

    And no the status quo isn't perfect. Their employee should be able to fire them for striking, and then go on and hire people who actually want to work for them.

    After all, these people are so highly skilled and valuable that they should have no touble finding alternative employment.

  6. Mikee: we'll see how much they're worth when the supermarkets run out of food.

  7. Idiot/Savant - that is the problem these workers have, there is an absolute upper bound on their usefulness.

    Most large retailers in NZ don't even operate a DC model, so there is absolutely no need for Progressive to.

    So now they won't

  8. Maia - In terms of your support for a national agreement, I would gather that you are totally against beneficiaries receiving different accomodation supplements on the basis of where they live?

  9. Mikee, given that the process we're looking at is essentially about establishing what their worth is, your question regarding their worth is spectacularly irrelevant.

    I thought right-wing libertarians were supposed to be economically literate? Since apparently they're not, here's a short lesson. You may remember all that crap about supply and demand, and where the graphed lines meet is a product's current value? Well, that's what's going on here - we're looking at a bargaining process to establish the price at which the seller is willing to sell and the buyer is willing to buy. Right now, it seems the seller is unwilling to sell, so I guess the buyer isn't offering enough.

    Perhaps an example will help. If you're selling your house for $400,000 and someone comes along and offers $100,000, do you say "I guess that's all my house is worth, better take the offer," or do you say "Fuck off and come back after your talking-shit attack is over?" Why then would you expect workers to be any different?

    Perhaps the employer could sack them all and hire a new workforce? Sure, Work and Income could send round a big batch of long-term unemployed, and the employer could enjoy that smooth transition from employing proletariat with long-term experience of its workplace to employing lumpenproletariat with no experience of the work place and little interest in work anyway. Bound to improve things no end - not! Such things need to be considered when establishing the worth of a workforce.

    You've never had to strike, because you've always been able to negotiate a pay rate - well, that's nice. So tell me, do you imagine the entire world can be accounted for by simply extrapolating from your own experience, or is it something you only apply to the workforce?

  10. This idea that the invisible hand of the free market will miraculously decide exactly how much workers are worth, in some kind of vacuum, is so goddamned stupid. Drives me batty. As if the market is some kind of altruistic external force for good in the world, instead of a human-run system designed to give wealth and power to those at the top.

    Fight the power, Distribution Workers.

  11. MikeE - I think your objections have been covered off.

    iiq374 - that's a random non sequiter. There is no reason that a nation wide collective agreement couldn't have cost of living allowances (I believe this is pretty standard in Britain, where there often is a London living allowance). But since Palmerston North is currently the highly paid distribution centre, I think you'd be hard pushed to argue that the differences were about cost of living.

  12. Anonymous7:36 pm

    "Perhaps an example will help. If you're selling your house for $400,000 and someone comes along and offers $100,000, do you say "I guess that's all my house is worth, better take the offer," or do you say "Fuck off and come back after your talking-shit attack is over?" Why then would you expect workers to be any different?"

    No I tell them to **** off if I think its worth more - because thats how much *I* value it in which case I don't sell and I look for another buyer hoping that someone values it more than me and is willing to pay 400k.

    I do not attempt to force anyone to pay 400k by essentially creating a cartel of cartel of house owners and using "house owner protection" to force others not to sell.

    Of course I might not be able to find a willing buyer - in which case I'll need to settle at a lower price or keep my house.

    Crap example.

    None of these people have a right to their job. The minute their employer decides to give them up because of the financial damage they are causing - they all lose their jobs.

    By causing their employers to loose money they threaten their own livelyhoods.

    Good thing compulsary unionism doesn't exist and employers at least have an opportunity to hire replacements to keep the businesses running - if they can afford it.

    Believe it or not businesses are not endless pits of money to satisfy every under educated, under performing, over paid NDU worker. Someone actually has to earn that money before it can be paid out to staff.

  13. Anonymous8:33 pm

    Mikee I'm touched by your faith in the market. However, I suggest you don't waste your time here stating that people who are paid crap wages get that because it is "all they are worth." Go tell it to their kids.
    You might also like to read this.

  14. Ditto to what Neville said.

    MikeE, I find your style of debate on this blog to be rather offensive at times and it seems you have some personal agenda to just wear Maia down for the sake of it.

    It's all just pro-capitalist anti-feminist crap to me and makes me wonder why you come here to a blog that is very clearly anti-capitalist and pro-feminist.

    Suggesting that anybody deserves to be paid lower wages because they are worth less than the rest of us is just downright offensive.

  15. Anonymous6:56 am

    "Someone actually has to earn that money before it can be paid out to staff."

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha! That poor business owner, working hard earning all that money, and then he has to pay it out to the shiftless beneficiaries known as staff! You might want to have a think about who earns that money in the first place, mate.

  16. Anonymous8:40 am


    Is it possible to set a poverty line figure?

    Is it calculated as dollars income received versus your situation such as how many kids, what ages, home renter or owner?

    How is the poverty line measured?

    How will I know when I'm below it?

  17. Anonymous4:32 pm

    Thanks carebear,

    Not sure where my thinking is on this but I just feel that the word "poverty" is being used to describe the underpaid and beneficiaries in too wide a context. Getting to be an emotive term.

    What should a living wage be?. Does it have to be monetary only?

  18. Anonymous11:51 pm

    17 500 non union workers are at risk of being made redundant because 500 union members can't come to grips with the basic fact that costs are diferent in diferent parts of the country. The unions should get real.

    I'm sure that these people were also incapable of grasping that Dr Wayne Mapp's probation bill would have helped the long term unemployed and immigrants find work.