Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > 1 March – No Rest for Striking Workers!

1 March – No Rest for Striking Workers!

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Contrary to the Radio NZ report this morning, the numbers attending the striker’s picket in Upper Hutt would have numbered at least double what was reported.

Despite on-off heavy rain, between 75 – 100 people stood on the side of Fergusson Drive, putting their case for a liveable wage,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Only last year,  John Key promised New Zealanders that the “driving goal of my Government is to build a more competitive and internationally-focused economy with less debt, more jobs and higher incomes” and we took him at his word.

Ordinary, hard-working New Zealanders who want nothing more than a decent wage so they can put food on their tables, and provide the best possible home for their children,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Some of the striking workers stood on the opposite side of the road,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Judging by the constant tooting of horns from passing vehicles, the picketing workers had considerable public support. On occassion, the car-tooting was non-stop, making talking almost impossible.

A wage of $13.61 an hour is simply not a credible income to live on. Should the government be worried? I’d say, “yes – definitely”.

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Green MPs  Catherine Delahunty (L) and Denise Roche (R), addressing workers. They voiced their Party’s support for workers to be paid a reasonable, liveable wage,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Labour MP, Kris Faafoi, voicing Labour’s support for striking workers,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Service & Food Workers Union sector-secretary, Alastair Duncan, telling workers that they were dedicated to their profession and deserved to be adequately remunerated,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Despite the sporadic heavy rain, the picket numbers swelled as more people joined in,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Rimutaka Labour MP, Chris Hipkins, joining the picket in solidarity with workers,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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The signs said it all,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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A “Fair Deal” – what could be more reasonable than that?

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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An indication of the heavy rain that picketers put up with. It did not deter them, and more joined the protest-line to support workers,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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This sign, I believe, summed it up very well,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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TV1 news camera covered the workers’ protest,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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More media,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea.

Interviewing one of the striking workers,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Interviewing another striking worker,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Striking for a better wage, to to put on the table for  families, and to ensure that their children get the best possible start in life,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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The Mana Party showed it’s  presence and support,

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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Green MP, Denise Roche (L) and Green activist, Conor (R),

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1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

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The overall feeling of the workers was upbeat and positive. Public support was noisy, with constant car-horn tooting.  The message to employers and to the National government was crystal clear: ” pay us a decent, liveable wage“!

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Media reporting

  • TV1 News: yes
  • TV3 News: tba
  • Radio NZ: yes
  • Dominion Post: yes

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Additional

Service & Food Workers Union

NZ Nurses Organisation

Labour Party

Green Party

Mana Party

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  1. Elsa
    1 March 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Fantastic Frank and thank you for all photos and honest reporting gee Danger Mouse is so proud of you 🙂 and so appreciate you reporting the facts, unlike other media eg what you said “Contrary to the Radio NZ report this morning, the numbers attending the striker’s picket in Upper Hutt would have numbered at least double what was reported” The Key media/regime/guillotine have a lot to answer for and yes, they must be worried, should be worried, very worried!! Bless all our SFW, especially our amazing carers, bless them all. Sorry I couldn’t be there but with you in spirit always. xx

  2. Elsa
    1 March 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Rain, hail, sleet, snow want stop NZ’rs giving govt firm messages, let’s hope govt heed this uprising because WE”VE HAD ENOUGH

  3. leigh davis
    1 March 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Thank u so much for coming along today and supports us in the rain and all

  4. 1 March 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for the positive, uplifting comments and support, Elsa. I’m in awe of these workers who try to raise families on $13.61 an hour.

    By comparison, John Key got a $11,000 pay increase, and other Ministers and MPs did almost as well. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5981284/MPs-get-pay-rise-package-of-7000?

    It’s time National lived up to it’s pledge to raise wages. And if they can’t, at least make the first $20,000 tax-free and bring in a Land/Wealth tax to close the loopholes in our taxation system.

    Otherwise we’ll end up with such grinding poverty in New Zealand that no one will want to work and live here.

    Again, much appreciation for your support, Elsa. I think we all do our little bit – and together it snowballs into a social action that Key & Co. can’t hold back.

  5. 1 March 2012 at 2:37 pm

    leigh davis :

    Thank u so much for coming along today and supports us in the rain and all

    It was the least I could do, Leigh. You folks deserve so much more than the pittance you’re currently paid.

    And judging by all the horn-tooting that went on, I think most folk agree!

    All the best to you, and your colleagues!

  6. taranakichick66
    2 March 2012 at 2:07 pm

    My mum is in one of those homes. The workers deserve so much more than the minimum wage they’re getting now.

    If we don’t pay them a decent pay, they’ll be off to Australia where rest home workers earn a lot more! Who will look after us then as we get older?

  7. CB
    2 March 2012 at 3:36 pm

    taranakichick66 :

    My mum is in one of those homes. The workers deserve so much more than the minimum wage they’re getting now.

    If we don’t pay them a decent pay, they’ll be off to Australia where rest home workers earn a lot more! Who will look after us then as we get older?

    So true! I wonder what we’d do if rest home workers decided to jump the ditch and head to Australia? Probably bring in slave labour from Korea like the fishing boats, I suppose.

    I weep for our country

  1. 28 May 2012 at 11:36 pm
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  3. 16 November 2012 at 6:37 pm
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