Joe Hendren

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Moore is Less and Less is More

News just in - Christchurch mayor Gary Moore has announced he will not seek a forth term as mayor. Good. Mayor Moore had been drifting a good distance from any recognisable centre-left direction in the last few years.

He proposed part-privatising the Lyttleton Port despite the fact this policy ran directly contrary to the public assets policy of the 2021 political grouping that he was elected under. The Keep Our Port Public campaign can take some of the credit for exposing the hypocrisy of Moore's position over the proposed port sale.

Gary's plans to close down libraries and local swimming pools spurned a great deal of opposition in the community.

He appointed Dr Lesley McTurk as city manager (CEO in newspeak). "McTurkey", as she is known in some quarters, has has sought to reorganise the council and its staff according to the tired old new-right songsheet. A large proportion of staff have left the council in the last few years, with a great deal of institutional knowledge being lost. There have been many instances of staff being treated poorly.

I really hope Tim Barnett stands for the Christchurch mayoralty - at this stage he would have my vote.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

ANZ does in Feltex, I close my account

At lunchtime today I went into my local National Bank branch and closed my last account. While my main accounts were transferred over to Kiwibank some time ago, I had banked with National and its predecessors since I was about 7 years old, including the time before the ANZ/National monster ate Countrywide.

On the form where it asks why I closed my account I wrote "Due to the greedy and shortsighted decision of the ANZ National bank to force Feltex into receivership".

To be honest it was an account I planned to close anyway - but I was pleased to have a chance to make the point.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Christchurch Solidarity March for Locked Out Progressive Enterprises Workers

At 11:30am on Friday the 8th of September at there will be a short solidarity march from the Trade Union Centre to the Square to mark the 15th day of the dispute that resulted in the Progressive Enterprises workers being locked out from their jobs.

No job means no pay.

Unionists and concerned members of the public who wish to show their support to the locked out workers are warmly invited to attend. Please bring banners. If you are in an artistic mood, why not paint your own banner with a special message for Progressive?

Progressive Enterprises will not allow their workers to come back to work until they give up their right to a national collective agreement. By tomorrow, distribution workers will have been locked out for 12 days. If a multimillion dollar multinational corporation like Progressive Enterprises are able to use stavation to bully their workers into submission, it will become more difficult for all workers to gain collective employment agreements.

Please assemble at the Trade Union Centre carpark at 11:30am

The National Distribution Union (ph 379 7671)
Engineering Printing and Manufacting Union (ph. 0800 186-466)

Tags: Politics, Protests, Corporates, Progressive Enterprises, Unions

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I've been quoted in the Listener

I was quoted in last weeks edition of the Listener talking about Toll's plans to end the Overlander train service. I will post up a link to the article 'End of the Line' (by Sally Blundell) when the complete text is available online.

It was the first time I have been officially 'interviewed' by a journalist, so I admit I was a little nervous about being quoted saying something silly. On seeing the article, I am happy.

While its nice to see my name in there, I am much more chuffed to see the article raise issues I found when I researched Toll two years ago. Other mainstream media have appeared to want to believe the Government's spin that the deal with Toll will save rail in NZ, and do not seem to realise that the closure of the Northerner and the Overlander are at the very least partly attributable to agreements made over passenger rail at the time of the Toll rail deal.

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Progressive Enterprises are being loose with the truth

Today will be the 10th day over 500 distribution employees of Progressive Enterprises have been locked out of their jobs - and what is their crime?

Progressive Enterprises Limited (PEL) will not let their employees come back to work until they abandon their claim for a national collective agreement. This is the central issue at the heart of this dispute, and thus represents an attack on the right of every employed New Zealander to negotiate a collective agreement.

According to National Distribution Union publicity officer Simon Oosterman, PEL are meeting with other supermarket workers this week to discuss their pay demands and had promised those on individual contracts pay rises. It is nothing but an attempt to deunionise supermarkets and put all workers on individual contracts.

The company have been extremly loose with the truth throughout this dispute. PE have consistently attempted to claim that the union demands amounted to a 30% payrise, when the claim is actually only for 8%, perhaps 10-12% at most, if other allowances are taken into account. PE have failed to substaintiate their farcial figures, leaving one to assume it is nothing but an attempt to scaremonger. They claim to be doing this for the benefit of their customers, yet reliable reports are starting to emerge of PEL supermarkets raising their prices while they attempt to fight the unions - and just what are their customers paying for?

Declaration of interest: I now have a new job - National Researcher at the National Distribution Union. That said this blog is purely a collection of my own personal opinions, and does not in any way represent the NDU.

I started at the NDU last Monday - and had a lockout to deal with on my first day. It has felt very much like an election campaign! My thoughts are totally with the locked out workers and their families.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Christchurch march against Israeli agression in Lebanon and Gaza

In Christchurch on Saturday around 100 people turned up to voice their opposition to the Israeli Government's recent actions in Lebanon and occupied Palestine.

Organsiers were quite happy with the number of people, especially as there has been less media attention on the situation since the so called 'ceasefire'.

The march started by the Bridge of Rememberance, and wove its way through City Mall, High Street, Hereford Street and then into the Square via Worcester St. I found myself holding the banner leading the march, and was given the job of ensuring the front banner did not move faster than the rest of the march. After having a word with the person on the left hand side of the banner, we found ourselves using the banner as a net to slow the other people down!

A man carrying an Israeli and a (smaller) New Zealand flag stood around 100 metres from the march gathering in the square. He was given a chance to speak following the organised speakers, and among some quotes from some rathr obscure religious texts he said that Israel had a right to exist. In reply, one of our group replied stating that "no one" was questioning Israel's right to exist*, but this did not give Israel the right to kill innocent civilians. I thought this exchange made the point quite nicely.

*I would add "on its 1967 borders".

Indymedia has some pictures of the Auckland rally and info on some of the international actions.

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