Trade Union

Dodgy Unions of the UK – Unite union

We have our own dodgy unions here, but they are a shadow of the dodginess of UK based unions.

Look at Unite union, the supposed protector of the workers and their sexual harassment issues:

More than half the female officers in Britain’s biggest union claim to have been bullied or sexually harassed by fellow officials or members in their workplaces, a leaked internal study has found.

The report about the treatment and working conditions of female representatives at Unite also concluded that a quarter of employed officers believe allegations of bullying were not handled well by the union when they were reported.

Titled Women Officers in Unite, the report cited an official who said she felt increasingly isolated at work because of male officials talking among themselves. “I have to sit among colleagues who refer to our secretaries as the girls … [They] think it is correct to refer to black people as coloured, talk about chairmen, refer to women as a piece of skirt,” one female officer said.

One woman told interviewers she was “sexually assaulted by a senior officer in the past”. The report did not go into any further details of her case and did not explain whether the woman reported the assault to police or the union. However it is understood that incident took place in 2007 before Unite was formed through the amalgamation of three unions.

Some of the worst examples of intimidation came from members in external workplaces. One woman reported she had been told in a meeting that she needed “a good ****”.

Another respondent blamed the union’s senior management for failing to commit to inclusivity. The report quoted her as saying: “The old-boys network is alive and kicking unfortunately in Unite, where it is who you know and where they come from that matters.”

The findings are contained in the 39-page internal report about the working lives of the union’s 74 female officers, who support the union’s members and elected shop stewards on shop floors and in offices. It was commissioned by Unite’s officers national committee (ONC) in February and presented to senior management in May.

Unite’s executive is considering the four-month-old findings.

Read more »

It’s all about the jobs: get ready for a year of Labour’s new mantra

skyscraper-lunch

Richard Harman at Politik has an interview with Grant Robertson…where it is all about jobs…and he’s been thinking a lot.

The funny thing is that Grant Robertson has never had a real job and he is the supposed genius who is going to solve all our problems?

This is the year that Labour will try and shift the goal posts that define the economic debate in New Zealand politics.

In one of the most fundamental shakeups of the way the party thinks about the economy and itself  it is proposing to build its policies around the way the workplace has changed.

Labour, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year, has always been the “workers’ party” where the workers were employees of big companies or organisations` which either processed, transported or manufactured physical products.

But these days manufacturing (in which Statistics NZ includes construction) accounts for less than 20% of gdp — service industries make up 66% of the economy.

And just as important as this shift has been the way we work. Labour faces this on the doorsteps of South Auckland among its huge Pasifika support base where people work two or three jobs, some part time, and some casual.

The old notions of security of employment has long since gone.

It has fallen to Grant Robertson to try and pull together the party’s response to this which he is doing by a massive consultation process.

So far he has been producing papers, talking to groups, unions, companies and individuals.

Read more »

Aussies gearing up for a fight over unions

Malcolm Turnbull has declared that he will fight the next election on reining in unions.

Bill Shorten says “bring it on”…which all adds up to a real nasty shit fight for the next election.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has responded to Malcolm Turnbull’s vow to fight an election on trade union reform, taking to Twitter to declare, “Bring it on”.

After the release of the trade union royal commission’s final report on Wednesday, Mr Turnbull flagged major reforms to union governance and said he would make it an election issue if the Senate blocked new laws.

On Thursday Mr Shorten, who is on leave and did not front the media on Wednesday, tweeted: “If Mr Turnbull and his Liberals want to fight an election on industrial relations, bring it on. We won on WorkChoices & we’ll win again.”

He followed by adding: “Labor will always fight for workers, decent pay & conditions. Mr Turnbull & his Liberals will fight for big business & to cut penalty rates.”

In a separate statement sent to Fairfax Media, Mr Shorten said he would “welcome any day of the week” Australian voters stacking up his record against Mr Turnbull’s on workplace relations.   Read more »

All that is left of the unions are the officials

union-slump

When I wrote Dodgy Unions I was highlighting just how parlous the situation of unions has become. Falling membership, lack of relevance but the organisations have accumulated vast war chests of cash from past members that the officials keep on dreaming up battles to fight.

The union movement continues to lose workers, but they have transformed themselves into an employment agency for political operatives.

Judith Sloan looks at the demise of unions in Australia.

If the trade union movement in Australia were a company, it would be thinking of filing for bankruptcy. In the early 1990s, its market share was 40 per cent. It is now 15 per cent.

In the private sector, only 10 per cent of workers are members of trade unions in their main jobs. In absolute terms, there are 1.6 million trade union members in their main jobs or 1.7 million in total. Note that there are 11.8 million employed people in Australia.

What are the explanations for this catastrophic decline in union membership? Is there anything the trade unions can do to arrest the decline? How is it that the influence of the trade union movement has not fallen in line with its falling membership?     Read more »

A newspaper editorial ticks off the PPTA

A newspaper has an editorial this morning that gently ticks off the PPTA. It clearly wasn’t written by Kirsty Johnson.

The secondary teachers’ union has welcomed one Auckland school’s decision to abandon international examinations and offer only the NCEA. The Post Primary Teachers’ Association would like to ban schools using the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge exams entirely, believing they undermine our homegrown educational credentials for school leavers.

It is concerned that schools offering the alternatives tend to imply the national qualification as not sufficiently challenging and lacking credibility. But it also blames the Government for using the NCEA to set national achievement targets as a measure of the return on educational investment. The union says the targets encourage “credit farming”, by which it means schools siphon students into courses that offer the most credits, though they might not be the courses the students need most. A paper circulated by the PPTA claims students “seek out courses which are perceived to deliver the most credits for the least effort”.

This is a concern if true. But it seems not to have occurred to the union that its portrayal of “credit farming” in the NCEA also reinforces the very perceptions it resents. The public should be insisting the PPTA’s members – who are professionals, as it often reminds us – do their utmost to encourage students to take courses that let them reach their educational potential.

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Union upset with Government for axing zero hour legislation. Wait… what?

Yeah I know…it beggars belief…a union complaining about the axing of zero hour contracts…who would ever have thought.

A trade union representing farm workers fears the Government’s zero hour contracts legislation could cost thousands of labourers their jobs.

While many unions have criticised the legislation for not going far enough, Amalgamated Workers’ Union’s secretary Calvin Fisher said the opposite was true.

He said the Government was bowing to union pressure, and not taking into account agriculture, where casual employment was necessary.

“It’s ironic that you’re trying to get middle ground here… it’s typical of Government legislation that tries to put a framework around employment situations and there’s not one situation that covers all,” he said.

Under the Employment Standards Legislation Bill, employers would not be able to cancel shifts without giving plenty of notice.    Read more »

Wrecking the influence of unions in politics

The poms are wrecking the influence of unions in politics, and it is new law changes that are going to bring the destruction.

The Conservatives – ever with an eye for the main chance – have borrowed the principle of Labour’s rule change and inserted it into the new Trade Union Bill. Any trade unionist who wants their money to be paid into the their union’s political levy – which is then used to finance the Labour Party – will have to proactively sign a form to that effect every five years. And it’s now possible to judge how many trade union members will bother to sign up in this way. Around 180,000. That compares with 4.5 million members who pay the levy now. Labour is about to lose 95 per cent of the income it receives from the unions. At precisely the same time it is about to elect Jeremy Corbyn as its leader. I don’t know how much Jeremy Corbyn is planning to secure for Labour in major corporate donations. But I can hazard a guess.

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Unions with Non-Subscription Income, Ctd

The union movement takes a huge amount of money from non-subscription sources.

Yesterday we looked at the unions that donate to Labour. Today is the turn of the public sector unions.

The public sector unions have over $77m of revenue each year, with $6m coming from non-subscription sources.

Public Sector Union Subscriptions  Non-Sub Income Total Income
Public Sector Association  $20,236,606  $2,243,6470  $22,480,253
New Zealand Educational Institute  $17,541,264  $1,097,965  $18,639,229
Nurses’ Organisation  $16,767,033  $2,016,233  $18,783,266
Tertiary Education Union  $4,391,974  $119,379  $4,511,353
Post Primary Teachers’ Association  $9,371,970  $261,496  $9,633,470
Medical Specialists  $3,085,174  $507,852  $3,593,026
 $71,394,025  $6,246,572  $77,640,597

Read more »

Act on the PPTA and Charter Schools and union blacklists

The ACT party ‘Free Press’ newsletter came out yesterday and provided this commentary on the PPTA and their attitude towards charter schools.

Seriously Unethical Behaviour

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association are plumbing new depths.  First they blacklisted a trainee teacher who worked at a Partnership School from doing training placements at schools where their members teach. The PPTA knows very well that training placements are essential to teacher registration, and their biggest criticism of Partnership Schools is that they can employ non-registered teachers. (As a side note, this condition only applies if the Partnership School provides suitable justification for doing so, e.g. no registered teachers have the skills they seek).

The Teacher Come Forward

The teacher was initially unwilling to speak publicly.  His story is worth reading: ‘Mr Kahukiwa started teaching te reo Maori and music at Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa in Whangarei at the start of the year. He sought out the school after meeting some of its students at the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cassino in Italy last May, where he was with the Royal New Zealand Navy. “All of us in the military, when we met those kids, we knew there was something special going on,” he said. “I just thought, oh well, whatever a charter school is it works for these kids, I want to be part of it.”  Read more »

CTU loses one of its cash cows

For a long time the CTU and also Business NZ have been tucking the taxpayer for millions via a rort with ACC.

All of that has come to an end however with the government deciding that the millions poured into their coffers isn’t worth it.

Naturally the CTU is crying a river of tears.

As the government attempts to water down core provisions in its new health and safety law, funding to support high risk industry health and safety representative is also about to end.

The CTU has today announced that its Health and Safety Representative Training programme, supported by ACC since 2003, will be ending in its current form this November.

Business New Zealand and private provider Impac Services are also affected by ACC’s decision.

ACC has supported this training since 2003, and over 33,000 Health and Safety Reps have been upskilled by the CTU in this period.   Read more »

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