Thursday, August 24, 2006

Unions, Labour, and unions and Labour

1. The 90 day bill will not become law. It's been great that workers have mobilised around this issue. The work by the CTU Runanga was particularly important. I still think it's a real fucking shame that this work didn't go into fighting to get something better, rather than just to stop things gettin worse. But fighting and winning is nothing to be sniffed at.

2. Snap wrote an excellent post about David Benson Pope's stupid cookbook for beneficiaries. In case anyone missed it in 1991 benefits were cut so low that they were no longer enough to live on (my understanding is that the food component of benefit levels was calculated by getting a nutritionist to get an absolute minimum food budget and then cut it by 25%). So any problems beneficiaries have at making ends meet are problems with the benefits, not problems with the beneficiaries.

3. Crazy conspiracy theories aren't really my cup of tea, so I don't usually read Investigate. But if you're interested in the union movement it's well worth having a look at the piece they wrote about the Service and Food Workers Union. As far as I know it's as accurate as it is damning (or as it is homophobic - Ian Wishart is such a pillock, even when he's an accurate pillock). Unlike Len Richards I don't believe that it's either natural or good for unions to support parties in power that attack workers. Darien Fenton and Lisa Eldret's abuse of their power is scandalous. But so is the amount of electioneering done by the SFWU (and the EPMU, and many of the state sector unions). Union members were told that voting was the most important workplace decision they would ever make. Political action is no substitute for collective action, and any union that pretends that it is is doing a huge disservice to its members.

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