Spark Audio: Bullets and ballots – the revolution in Nepal

In this talk Babu Maharjan presents a brief history of the people’s war in Nepal that has led to expulsion of the monarchy and overwhelming success for the revolutionary party in the first fully-democratic election in that country, in which it gained a majority. Recording also includes lengthy Q&A session. Recorded at Marxism 2008

Download the MP3 here

Don Franks on the importance of class in New Zealand

Appearing in a segment on yesterday’s Radio NZ “Ideas” program, Workers Party Wellington Central candidate Don Franks explains the reality behind the superficial rhetoric about New Zealand being a “classless” society.

Download the podcast here or the audio stream here

Oil workers’ union leader calls for an end to the US plunder of Iraq

On May 28, 2008, Chevron and ExxonMobil Corporations each conducted their annual shareholder meetings.

Chevron held its meeting at its world headquarters in San Ramon, Ca. ExxonMobil convened in Dallas, Texas. Antiwar, environmental and other social justice organisations conducted protests at each event.

The statement below from the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq to the shareholders of each corporation was presented at press conferences conducted in conjunction with these protests. The statement was transmitted by Hassan Juma’a Awad, President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, to US Labor Against the War for presentation at these events.

Original statement posted here

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Abortion – whose choice is it?

Workers Party public forum
Monday 23 June 6pm Level 1, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland

The anti-choice lobby group “Right To Life” are jubilant over a High Court judge’s review that questions the legality of many abortions. Daphna Whitmore discusses the legal, social and practical realities of abortion in NZ today.

Popcorn Strikes Hit Skycity Cinemas

- article from the upcoming June 2008 issue of Cinema Worker

Photo: Socialist Aoteaora

Strikes will be spread around the country until the employers offer experienced-based pay for cinema attendants, appropriate rates for supervisors, and secure hours of work with a progressive rostering protocol. The Skycity Cinema offer has been for cinema attendants to start on minimum wage and stay on minimum wage, and for supervisors and projectionists to loose their relativity with other staff. This was rejected and staff voted to take action.

On Tuesday 10 June at 6pm 27 Skycity Cinema workers formed a picket line at the Henderson complex on a busy intersection. Nine of these workers were striking, other Henderson complex workers who were not on shift turned out, as well as four workers from the Broadway and Massey complexes. The strike was taken on the cheap-ticket night and lasted for 80 minutes.

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Report on Marxism 2008 Educational Weekend

- Workers Party(NZ) reporters

Seventy-three people attended the Marxism 2008 conference in Grey Lynn, Auckland over Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Guest speakers and members of the Workers Party (NZ) – which organised the conference – came together to deliver presentations on a range of important issues and to generate discussions and ideas.

The political depth of the educational weekend was strong and presentations were well-received. Internationalist presentations and discussions were held at the beginning of the weekend and this helped give context for the weekend.

Babu Maharjan, a Nepali living in New Zealand, presented a brief history of the people’s war in Nepal that has led to expulsion of the monarchy and overwhelming success for the revolutionary party in the first fully-democratic election in that country, in which it gained a majority.

This was followed by debate about the nature of the economy in the new period in Nepal.

[Read more...]

Upbeat strike at Auckland Airport

foodcourt workers on strikeTwo dozen workers at Auckland Airport’s foodcourt staged a lightening strike on Saturday 7 June, in protest at medieval working conditions. The strikers marched through the foodcourt calling for their rights and were applauded by the public.

Employers and security tried unsuccessfully to silence the upbeat strikers.

The company is a joint venture between HMSC, a mega-corporation with businesses around the world, and Auckland International Airport.

Mike Treen of Unite Union said the workers had the worst employment contract the union had come across.

The workers have a start time but no finish time. They may work for one hour or for 10 hours at the whim of the company. Unite has succeeded in getting breaks established for staff, who earlier were working up to 7 hours with no breaks. Most are on the minimum wage or slightly above and have no security of hours. Some have worked 38 to 40 hours a week for several years but are denied permanent positions. The strikers are calling for a pay increase, security of hours for long serving staff and improved breaks.

CTU president sides with scabs in junior doctors’ strike

- Tim Bowron

Council of Trade Unions President Helen Kelly has condemned recent strike action by junior doctors employed by district health boards, claiming that it risks giving unions “a bad name”.

In an article published in the Sunday Star Times on April 27, Kelly criticised the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) for not supporting the “modern” partnership model of unionism promoted by the CTU as well as unions such as the Public Service Association. According to Kelly’s prescription, instead of taking industrial action the RDA should be joining in the “tripartite forum” already established by CTU unions along with the Ministry of Health and the DHBs to talk through the issues. Moreover, she said, “the RDA focused on industrial matters and lacked wider professional advisers, such as policy analysts, economists, lawyers and advocates.”

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Breadline wages contributed to Muliaga tragedy

- Daphna Whitmore

The Muliaga inquiry doesn’t seem to be factoring in the role of the terrible pay that the family were trying to survive on. Below is the press release that Unite issued shortly after Mrs Muliaga’s death (her husband worked at a hotel that Unite organises). The Herald accused me of trying to use the tragedy to further a cause, implying that I was being callous. But Mrs Muliaga’s nephew turned up at the picket and was very supportive of the strike.

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Tranz Rail buyback: why they did it

- John Edmundson

On May 5 this year the Government announced that it had completed negotiations with Toll Holdings to repurchase the rail and ferry business sold by the Bolger National government in 1993. For some, this has been seen as a great blow against the post-1984 neoliberal onslaught, characterised by a string of restructuring and asset sales carried out by successive Labour and National governments.

There is no question that the decline of rail in New Zealand has been a sorry tale. Prior to the 1984 election, Richard Prebble toured the nation, stopping in at railway workshops around the country, promising to “Save Rail”. Once in power, he revealed what that actually meant. NZ Rail slashed staff and services. Thousands of workers, and many communities, were devastated by the reforms.

[Read more...]

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