Governments Dont Organise- Unions Do


2016 has been another year of decreasing membership for the Union movement in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Many Unionists will blame this on an anti-worker government. It is true that the Key is government has had a pro-business agenda.  But to focus on government as the defining challenge of the union movement can be unhelpful. Often it diverts attention from the opportunities that the movement faces in the here and now.

John Key is an employer’s PM, but the legislative changes brought against workers by the Key government have not qualitatively changed the terrain for union organising. Several laws have been amended in recent years. Firstly, it has been made it easier for some employers to deny breaks to staff. While this is important, it  has not affected Unions structurally and does not dramatically alter workplace power dynamics. More significant has been the introduction of 90 trial periods into law. These trial…

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