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Saturday, May 26, 2012


Gerry Brownlee’s Ilam Office 283 Greers RdHousing is a human right!*
Saturday 26th May 2.00pm ~ Bring Your Concerns!

There is a great need for affordable and safe housing for many people in Otautahi/Christchurch at this time, meanwhile rental prices have increased, many people are struggling to make ends meet, and the rebuild is being monopolised by corporate interests before addressing the needs and concerns of local communities.

* More decent social housing for Christchurch
* Sustainable rebuild
* Housing organised according to need not profit
* Acknowledgement of the real levels of homelessness and displacement in our city
* Rent freeze for private and social housing
* A living wage and affordable housing for all
* No shock doctrine housing policy
* Democratic process for peoples’ housing concerns to be heard


Beyond Resistance has just donated $200 to the AFFCO workers fund, and urge anyone else with some loose change to do the same.See below for how:


If you are a supporter and want to help us with our campaigns or our general work, you can make a donation below.

Ongoing donations

Ongoing donations will keep families fed.

Automatic payment

There are two ways to setup an automatic payment:

  • Through an automatic payment form: WestpacTSBNational BankANZBNZ or Kiwi Bank, or
  • Through online banking with our details: Kiwibank, Wellington (Branch), NZCTU DISPUTES FUND (Account holder), 38 9007 0894028 08 (Account)

Workplace deductions

Many workplaces allow you to make weekly deductions from your wage or salary (before you are paid.) Speak to your manager, human resources manager or finance manager to see if it can be arranged. If you are a member of a union it is a lot easier – call your union if you need help.

One off donations

$5 – 0900 LOCK OUT

You can give a quick $5 by calling: 0900 562 5688.

Direct bank deposit

Donations can be made directly to our Kiwi Bank dispute fund.

The account name is ‘NZCTU Disputes Fund’ and the number is 38 9007 0894028 08 (Kiwi Bank).

Credit and debit cards

Coming soon!

Other important links

  • For drop off points for food donations go here
  • For a list of resources we need go here
  • To fundraise go here.

From Stuff: More than 100 protesters were gathered outside a police station in that Auckland suburb of Glen Innes tonight to demonstrate against what they say was excessive force used against them by police.

Contractors started work on April 2 to remove 40 state houses from Silverton Ave, Glenn Innes, and last night police and protesters clashed as houses were moved from two properties.

A woman required hospital treatment and witnesses have claimed police were heavy handed, something they deny.

Protesters, which included affected tenants,  the Tamaki Housing Group, Occupy Auckland and Mana Maori, tonight picketed and chanted “Our civil rights are under attack! Stand up! Fight back!”.

Marion Peta claims six protesters were “manhandled” by officers last night.

“It’s my first experience with being pushed around like that. They were so rough with us and they walked over us. Police absolutely over reacted.”

Police have not addressed the protesters.

A woman needed hospital treatment after a confrontation between protesters and police in Glen Innes last night where activists including John Minto were arrested.

Police confirmed a protester suffered a seizure and emergency services attended to treat her.

”She’s fallen over and banged her head and it’s induced a seizure. She has a history of seizures,” Glen Innes Senior Sergeant Graeme Porter said.

Porter said the team policing unit formed a line and moved protesters, who linked arms, back.

”Staff push and motion them back.”

Although Porter didn’t see the woman fall, ”it was pitch black at that time of night”, she could of fallen while moving backwards, he said.

The Auckland District Health Board confirmed the woman went to Auckland City Hospital and spent the night under observation, but will not be admitted.

Joe Carolan, of the Mana Movement, said the protests had been orderly, with protesters accepting that the police were there to do their job, and individual officers had offered their sympathies.

However, he claimed that changed last night when “aggressive” officers stormed the protest lines after 10.30pm, arresting five protesters in the “blockade”, including leader John Minto.

Carolan, who had been at the site but was away when the protest was broken up, claimed Minto was dragged from a human train and others were knocked down during the confrontation.

Minto claimed police attempted to break up the protest “with unwarranted violence against the mainly local women on the line”.

“I personally received several injuries during the protest and a subsequent gratuitous and violent arrest for alleged obstruction.”

Minto claimed police acted with “thuggish abandon” that resulted in injuries to several of the protesters.

Porter said one person was arrested at the Torrington Cres protest and five were arrested at Silverton Ave. All were charged with obstruction.

”The police acted in a fair and professional manner,” he said. ”It was a tricky, emotional situation but police treated the protesters in a professional manner.”

Porter said the house on Silverton Ave was eventually removed and the truck was finally allowed on the Torrington Ave property.

”They have a right to protest but Housing New Zealand also has a right to do it’s lawful business.”

Displaced residents have been protesting against the move since February and when contractors began removing the houses, police were called when several tried to stop the trucks getting onto the site.

The project, part of the Tamaki Transformation Programme, involves the redevelopment of 156 Housing New Zealand properties to create 260 new homes.

Only 78 of those will be owned by Housing New Zealand, 39 will be owned by other social and community housing providers charging higher rent and the other 143 houses will be for private sale.

Another 40 state houses in the area will be modernised.

Housing New Zealand says it owns 57 per cent of the housing stock in the area and wants that reduced to 53 per cent over five years.

Residents have continued to fight the project with many saying they have been in the area for decades and don’t want to leave.

There are no guarantees those who have been moved to allow for the redevelopment will be able to move back.

West Coast MayDay Week
When we celebrate the contribution of working people to a just society.
Sunday29April | 12noon | Runanga Club
Workers Memorial Picnic
children focused poetry, demonstrations fun day, market stalls, sausage sizzle, treasure hunt.
Katie Thompson + Fleur Jack live 4pm-7pm
Inquiries 762 7854 |
Wednesday2May | 12-2pm | Runanga School Hall
Workers and Champions: linking with elders
Paparoa Range + Runanga students interview elders, workers and champions over lunch.


Friday4May | 7.30pm | $15/$10 | Runanga School
goodnight, irene
Kiwi/Possum productions present live theatre with songs triggered by the Pike River disaster. Premiered at The Regent Theatre, Greymouth has since played Hokitika and the Dunedin Fringe Festival where Heather Fletcher was nominated for best performer award.
This unique community project reveals the power of performance to engage both heart and mind.
Sharon Mathews, Theatreview
Like a system of shafts and tunnels, the themes in goodnight, Irene connect and reconnect: grief and love, place and belonging, memory and song.
Greg O’Connell, Theatreview.
Bookings 732 4010 |


Saturday5May | 11am-3pm | Runanga School
Dreaming Our Future Symposium
sector leaders + citizens are invited to gather + ponder the future of the West Coast. Current dream/ a future dream: problems, solutions, concerns, data.
A free flowing process which we hope will at least begin this necessary adventure. All welcome.
Lunch/refreshments provided. Koha appreciated.
Bookings: 732 4010 | 762 7352 |


Sat5May | 7.30pm | $15/$10 | Runanga School Hall
Worlds’ Workers Dinner
honouring the Milton Locked Out Workers 20th anniversary, the launch of Runanga Miners Hall Restoration Project.
Speech Paul Watson (FirstUnion)
Then/now ECA+current disputes, similarities+differences
Struggling through the 90s Kiwi/PossumProductions
first staged in 1995, based on interviews with Milton Locked Out Workers.
Workers songs from the WestCoast Wobblies.
Bookings762 7352 |


From the NZ Herald: Meatworker Drew Fletcher says the hardest thing about being locked out of work this Easter is the effect on the children.

“It’s an adjustment for our kids,” he said this week. His daughter Charnt, 8, and son Demetri, 3, will be joined by a new baby in July.

“They used to get everything. It’s not like they can get everything any more – we’re not going out to places and stuff like that.”

Mr Fletcher, 28, of Ngaruawahia, has worked in the freezers at Affco’s nearby Horotiu meatworks for the past six years. His partner Mere Tiana, 26, has worked there slightly longer.

“When she starts, I finish, so we always have someone to look after the kids,” he said. “I would do the day shift from 6am to 3pm and my partner started from 3.30pm and worked till midnight or 1am.”

That routine was shattered on February 29, when Affco locked out 120 out of 280 union members at Horotiu. Mr Fletcher was one of the unlucky ones. Ms Tiana was lucky – she kept working until she had to stop because of a bad back three weeks ago.

Since then the family has had no income. They haven’t applied for welfare benefits because they are trying to get accident compensation for Ms Tiana’s back injury.

Article continues below

They have applied to their bank for a mortgage holiday, and they’re trying to get access on hardship grounds to the money they’ve saved for their retirement through KiwiSaver. In the meantime, they’re living on debt.

“We just use our credit card. It’s maxed out,” Mr Fletcher said.

At Moerewa in Northland, Horotiu, Rangiuru near Te Puke, Wairoa, Wanganui and Feilding, about 1500 Affco workers are locked out this Easter in a bitter duel with the Motueka-based Talley family, who took full ownership 18 months ago of what was once the farmer-owned Auckland Farmers Freezing Co-operative.

Although the dispute has barely registered in the big cities, it affects far more people than the 235 watersiders who were locked out at the Ports of Auckland until a week ago. Affco’s handling of the dispute, which began as a standard two-year wage negotiation, has also been highly unusual.

Meatworkers’ Union president Mike Nahu and secretary Dave Eastlake were called to a February 24 meeting in Nelson with Affco chief executive Hamish Simson and director Michael Talley, who manages his family’s meat industry interests, after just three negotiating sessions and without any threat of strike action from the union.

By Mr Eastlake’s account, Mr Talley “spent most of the meeting over-talking us and eventually produced a lawyer from the back room who had the lockout notice in his hand”. The notice named 760 union members who were locked out, but allowed about 900 other union members to keep working.

A further 213 workers at Rangiuru were locked out later after they took part in a strike by all union members protesting at the lockout. About 480 more have been locked out just for Easter after joining the strikes.

Mr Talley declined to speak to the Weekend Herald, but Affco operations manager Rowan Ogg said the company locked out only some union members to keep “a workable team” in all plants.

“The rationale was to try and put pressure on to further the negotiations, pure and simple,” he said.

But Auckland University employment law expert Bill Hodge said he had never heard of such a partial lockout before. “It’s contrary to the purpose and ambit of the way the legislation is shaped,” he said.

On Thursday, the Employment Court agreed to hear a union claim that the the lockout is unlawful on April 23-24. Before then, the two sides are due to meet this coming Thursday for mediation.

The Talleys, valued at $300 million in last year’s Rich List, have been here before. NZ Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway, who also flew to Nelson in a fruitless bid to stave off the lockout just before it was imposed, describes them as “a tough family”.

Nelson-based Service and Food Workers’ Union official Neville Donaldson says only a handful of workers in the Talleys’ original fishing, vegetable and icecream businesses have joined a union, and they are all confidential members because “Talley’s makes no secret as an employer that they don’t support unions”.

In 2009, after winning control of Waikato-based Open Country Cheese, the company responded to a strike by 36 workers by bringing in staff from an associated company, Open Country Dairy.

That case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled last year that Open Country acted illegally by using other staff to do the work that would normally have been done by the striking workers. But the workers had moved on and Open Country now has no union presence.

This time Mr Ogg says the issue is not the union’s presence but its “outdated and restrictive work practices”.

Almost all meatworks in the country still operate a unique system of “seniority” which guarantees work in each new season to workers from the last season in order of when they were first employed.

Affco challenged this at the start of the 2010-11 season by offering individual contracts paying 3 per cent above the collective agreement on the basis that seniority applied only to those in the collective. Mr Ogg said the extra pay made up for the individual contracts’ inferior sick leave, long-service leave and redundancy pay.

The union went to the Employment Court, which ruled that the collective agreement required Affco to re-employ union members based on seniority lists which included all workers, including individual contractors.

Almost all meatworks, including all the Affco works, also pay most of their workers on a combination of hourly rates and bonuses for processing pre-set daily animal tallies, with agreed numbers of butchers, boners and other positions for every agreed tally.

Mr Ogg said the system often paid workers for more hours than they actually worked.

“When that tally is reached during the day, everyone packs up and goes home. That might be after six hours,” he said. “We think there is a requirement to work eight hours at ordinary time.” He said the system raised costs, lowered the prices Affco could pay for livestock, and encouraged farmers to send animals to higher-paying works such as Universal Beef Packers at Te Kuiti and Riverlands in Taranaki.

However, the union’s Horotiu branch president Don Arnold fears that working faster and longer would endanger his members’ health.

“The average [working] life of a boner at Universal is 10 years. They are young guys, they go for it and earn huge money – $300 a day. But they are going to pay for it,” he said.

“Our guys get just over $200 a day, but we still have boners working in their 50s. They are feeling it, but they’ve got a longer life span.”

Mr Ogg says Affco has kept operating through the dispute by locking out only some union members, and because more than 30 per cent of its total workforce had accepted individual contracts even before the lockout.

On his count, that figure has now risen to more than half.

A Horotiu labourer who asked to be called just “Barry” said he signed up as an individual from the start because he was afraid of being locked out if he joined the collective, and to get a $1000 bonus paid to the individual contractors each year if they turn up for work at least 98 per cent of the time.

Despite next week’s mediation, both sides seem to be digging in. Mr Ogg said the company was willing to keep the lockout up indefinitely.

Mr Eastlake said Mr Talley had closed down plants before to beat the union and seemed bent on a similar plan.

“He can’t close Affco down, he’d have to pay redundancy pay to all the people in the collective agreement. So he has chosen this way,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the lockout lasted till the last man standing.”


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