Tag Archives: Labour Union

The New Zealand government has rejected calls to increase welfare payments | Instant News


In the first month since New Zealand’s October 17 election, the reformed Labor-Green government has shown its pro-business color, as it implements corporate elite demands for deeper austerity measures against the working class.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week flatly rejected requests from 59 organizations, including trade unions, charities and poverty action groups, to raise welfare payments before Christmas to tackle mass unemployment and impoverishment.

Through the Aotearoa ActionStation umbrella group [New Zealand], the group published an open letter saying the situation was “urgent.” Families are “pushed into poverty” by job loss under COVID-19, coupled with long-term stagnant salaries and high housing costs. The low level of welfare benefits means that “today, hundreds of thousands of children are limited by poverty, despite the best efforts of parents.”

Jacinda Ardern (AP Photo)

The letter did not come from opponents of the coalition government but from allies who have campaigned for its re-election – and donated tens of thousands of dollars to Labor, in the case of trade unions – on the false premise that a “progressive” government would be open to pressure from the “left”. In the most amiable terms, the letter pleads for action to “help achieve your vision of making Aotearoa the best place to be a child.”

Ardern responded by ruling out increasing the core benefits. At a post-cabinet press conference on November 9, he stated: “It will not be a problem that is resolved in one week or one month or even one term.” Ardern had promised during the 2017 election campaign that he would lead a “transformative” government dedicated to eliminating child poverty and the housing affordability crisis.

The government’s Welfare Advisory Group in 2019 recommended an additional $ 5.2 billion a year for social welfare, with an immediate increase in main benefits ranging from 17 to 47 percent, and indexing benefits to average wages. The government supports indexation and increases benefits by just $ 25 a week, but rules out further increases as “not fiscally sustainable.”

Labor and Greens, now without NZ First as government partners, were reinstated after Labor won a majority of seats, including many in wealthy areas previously held by the conservative National Party. After two weeks of coalition negotiations, a deal with the Greens was secured to put a false “progressive” face onto the government’s agenda.

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Regional unions call for increased investment into geothermal in Tuscany, Italy | Think GeoEnergy | Instant News



Carboli Geothermal Power Plant Tuscany, Italy (Source: Enel Green Power Media Library)

Pointing to geothermal’s major role in providing electricity and heat in the Tusany region of Italy, local unions unanimously requested further investment in the development and utilization of geothermal in the region.

This week, Greenreport from Italy, reported that local unions in Tuscany, Italy have unanimously requested increased investment for geothermal development in the region.

“Geothermal energy currently accounts for about 30% of the energy consumed in the Region: this share needs to be increased, increasing cultivation in basins with low enthalpy and most importantly, medium and high”. This is one of the main steps contained in the joint position drawn up by the regional union CGIL-CISL-UIL to take an inventory of the sustainable development issues that will be pursued in the new legislative term that has just opened with the arrival of Eugenio Giani at the helm of the Tuscan council.

The document, given in full by the Tuscany regional body for environmental protection (Arpat), suggests that “Tuscany must significantly increase the share of energy generated from renewable sources”. The context in which geothermal energy plays a major role, starts with the power sector.

To date, geothermal energy has been able to meet about 30% of Tuscan electricity needs – thus meeting the demand for 1,120,000 people -, while helping to make central Italy, the region with the lowest footprint. carbon dioxide state.

Direct use adds to the contribution in terms of electricity: this means ensuring useful heat to heat more than 10,000 residential users and enterprises in the geothermal region, along with about 30 hectares of greenhouses and dairies, as demonstrated by good practice reported by Legambiente in the area. and relating to the Renewable Energy Food Community (CERER).

As evidence of the huge role that geothermal energy can guarantee for Tuscany’s ecological transition, even beyond electricity production alone, Legambiente also highlighted that the only city that can be 100% renewable – taking into account the electricity and thermal needs that Fer has met. [government regulation pertaining to renewable energy] – There are 6 Tuscan geothermal cities throughout central and southern Italy.

Despite the major role played by geothermal energy in Tuscany, no renewable source alone is sufficient to manage the energy transition phase we are experiencing. From geothermal technology we can obtain stable base load energy without CO2 emissions from combustion, through a system that is able to ensure 24/7 functionality regardless of weather conditions, but it is impossible or unwanted to ignore blending with other renewable sources. available in the region.

“Even if geothermal energy plays a fundamental role in meeting regional energy needs, we must invest in an important way – underlining trade unions – also in the growth of other renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydroelectricity. In Tuscany we have the skills and economic resources necessary to make a leap in quality, not only at the environmental level, but also in the “good” jobs that the entire renewable sector can guarantee. “

Source: Greenreport.it

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The Jacobin praised the re-election of the New Zealand Labor government | Instant News


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Election victory in New Zealand has been glorified by Jacobin Magazine, a false-left publication associated with the Socialist Democratic Party (DSA), a faction of the Democratic Party.

An article entitled “Jacinda-Mania Is Not Enough for New Zealand, Māori, or Environment Workers,” by Ben Peterson, an official at NZ FIRST Union, declared the Labor Party victory “a victory for the entire political left, brimming with the prospect of victory. next. “The government, said Peterson, could be pressured to make” radical changes “to improve the lives of workers.

Apart from a few left-sounding phrases and some light criticism, the article basically echoes a publication like New York Time and Nation, which praised the Ardern government as “progressive” and “inclusive”. Although Peterson did not mention the upcoming US election, Ardern was widely presented as a model for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, whose right-wing and pro-war campaign was supported by the DSA and Jacobin.

Jacinda Ardern in 2018 (Source: justice.govt.nz)

With the capitalist system in its worst crisis since the Great Depression, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Jacobin regards New Zealand as evidence to suggest that capitalist governments can still carry out progressive reforms. Among Democrats and their supporters, New Zealand appears to have replaced Sweden as an example of a “socialist democratic” country. Sweden can no longer serve this purpose since its government spearheaded a “herd immunity” policy that allows the spread of the coronavirus. It has been adopted by ruling classes around the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

However, presenting the Ardern government as a left-wing alternative is a total forgery of its records since 2017.

Peterson praised Ardern’s response to the pandemic, including the relatively tight lockdown, but without mentioning that it was only implemented in response to mass pressure from the working class, including health workers and teachers. An online petition demanding the lockdown drew tens of thousands of signatures, raising the specter of a growing labor movement independent of trade unions that opposed the lockdown until the government finally imposed it.

The article also glorifies Ardern’s economic response, stating that “the wage subsidy scheme and other forms of stimulus [kept] unemployment was much lower than originally estimated. “

In fact, the Labor-led government is leading the biggest attack on the working class for generations. In just a few months, unemployment has skyrocketed from about 4 percent to a real rate well above 10 percent. And it is likely to climb higher, with the prediction that New Zealand could experience a second recession next year. Median income has plunged 7.6 percent this year, the first drop ever recorded.

Government stimulus packages, like in every other country, provide tens of billions of dollars for big businesses, while the Reserve Bank prints up to $ 100 billion to buy bonds from banks and shore up their profits. Financial and business circles have welcomed The Labor election victory saw him more stable than his rival National Party and better able to implement the drastic austerity measures that would be needed to pay off the debt accumulated by saving the rich.

Large companies, which receive millions in so-called wage subsidies, tax breaks, and other government assistance, have rendered thousands of workers redundant. Trade unions have played an important role in working with employers and the government to prevent an organized movement against layoffs and pro-business restructuring.

Peterson’s FIRST Union, for example, recently told workers facing redundancy at retail chain The Warehouse that they could not go on strike and instead issued fruitless pleas to the company to reconsider its plans to fire as many as 1,080 people. The union then encouraged workers to re-elect the government which had subsidized The Warehouse’s wages of $ 67.8 million.

Peterson falsely claims that workers have won significant profits in the last three years. She stated that following the national nurse strike in 2018, the government “dramatically increased the salaries of nurses and added hundreds of more staff to wards.” The strike, part of a revival of the working class struggle in New Zealand and internationally, was strangled by the trade union bureaucracy. The New Zealand Nursing Organization imposed a hugely unpopular deal that included no significant staff increase and a pay increase of only 3 percent, effectively freezing wages relative to the cost of living.

The ruling elite clearly anticipates a further escalation of class struggle, which the Labor government and trade unions will be tasked with suppressing. The new government is already showing signs of nervousness about what to implement. Although the majority of Labor as a whole allows it to govern itself, the party is engaged in two weeks of talks to reach some sort of agreement with the Greens. Labor, it seems, feels that it may be necessary for the Green Party to project a false “progressive” image as the government launches its right-wing agenda.

Significantly, Jacobin made no mention that New Zealand was a US ally or that Ardern had strengthened ties with the Trump administration. His government labels China and Russia as major “threats” to the international order and is spending tens of billions on upgrading and expanding the military to be integrated into US war plans.

In 2017, Labor only came to power thanks to a coalition deal, which the US ambassador publicly endorsed, with the NZ First Party, a racist party that has repeatedly demonized Muslims, Chinese and Indian immigrants. The Ardern government imposed class-based restrictions on immigration and attacked migrants during the pandemic, including by refusing to provide unemployment benefits to the thousands of people who lost their jobs.

Jacobin spewing media acclaim for Ardern’s response to the March 2019 massacre of 51 Muslims by fascist terrorist Brenton Tarrant. According to Peterson, Ardern showed “genuine concern” for the victims and “his response was an important rejection of racism and xenophobic politics,” even though Tarrant’s anti-immigrant excrement closely resembles Ardern’s ally – NZ First.

Peterson falsely described NZ First as a “center-right populist” party and made no mention of the racist positions or anti-immigrant policies adopted by the Labor Party. This is no accident: the unions in New Zealand, like in the United States, are steeped in nationalism and xenophobia. FIRST Union, despite feigning concern about the exploitation of migrant workers, repeatedly scapegoat migrants for lowering wages and taking jobs “New Zealanders should do”.

The circumstances surrounding the Christchurch terrorist attack have been deliberately shrouded in secrecy, with the royal commission of inquiry being carried out entirely behind closed doors. But it is clear that the attacks could only have occurred because police and intelligence services in Australia and New Zealand ignored threats of repeated violence by fascist groups and by Tarrant himself.

The Ardern government’s primary response to the massacre, namely Jacobin support, has introduced greater power for the state to censor “extremist” content on social media – a force that is certain to be used against left-wing groups and workers.

Jacobin His position in the Christchurch massacre is in line with his efforts belittling the dangers of fascist violence in the United States, including a Trump-inspired plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The magazine aims to sow the complacency of subjecting workers and youth to big business political parties, whose policies create the conditions for the growth of the right: Labor in New Zealand and Democrats in the US.

The cheerful response of the international pseudo-left to Ardern’s re-election exposed the gulf that separated them from true socialism and internationalism. These groups represent part of the middle class, including the trade union bureaucracy, whose aim is to improve their position in capitalism at the expense of workers.

The Ardern government pledged to increase the role of trade unions as industrial policemen, through a corporate wage fixing mechanism erroneously called the Fair Salary Agreement. Peterson praised this policy, without mentioning that the goal was to forbid strike during industry-wide payment negotiations involving unions, employers and the state.

Workers and young people internationally should not be fooled by promotions by the pseudo-left of the NZ Labor Party and the Green Party. Ardern will form a right-wing government that is sure to come into conflict with the working class, which will seek to counter the historic assault on their living standards, and against the threat of war and right-wing groups. Exposing lies Jacobin and similar publications are essential for building the necessary socialist leadership in preparation for future revolutionary struggles.

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Public webinar: For a socialist program against the far-right agenda of the New Zealand Labor government | Instant News


The Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) invites readers of the World Socialist Website list to attend our upcoming webinar, to be held at Zoom on Sunday 8 November at 16:00 New Zealand time, on the results of New Zealand’s election.

Speakers from the SEG and the International Committee of the Fourth International will discuss the right-wing agenda of the re-elected Labor Party and the need for a new socialist and internationalist party. They will refute the fraudulent claims made by the corporate media and pseudo-left that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government represents a better and progressive alternative to far-right governments in other countries.

The meeting will examine the context in which the elections are taking place: the unprecedented crisis of global capitalism triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new wave of class struggle is erupting, in response to more than a million deaths and mass impoverishment, caused by governments prioritizing the benefits of big business over life and human well-being.

The government responded to the left working class movement with authoritarian methods of government and by encouraging fascist forces. Donald Trump’s threat to use such force to stage a coup in the US is just the most striking example of this universal trend.

New Zealand is in no way separate from this development. The Ardern government has transferred tens of billions of dollars to big businesses and banks. New Zealand companies are undergoing a vicious restructuring, sacking tens of thousands of workers. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and inequality surged to levels not seen in the post-World War II period.

Following the Christchurch massacre in 2019, the Labor-led government has stepped up its efforts to deflect anger over the social crisis by scapegoating immigrants and fomenting nationalism. It also strengthens New Zealand’s alliance with US imperialism, as Washington prepares for war against targets including Iran, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela and China.

A re-elected government, in which Labor has the majority of parliamentary seats, will deepen right-wing attacks. Trade unions and pseudo-left organizations are trying to obscure this reality and to disarm the workers by sowing illusions in the Labor and Green Parties.

These illusions will be shattered by the reality of inequality and worsening social reactions. The working class and the youth will fight, as they have done for the last three years, against austerity, police brutality and militarism. But this struggle cannot continue without a clear socialist perspective and leadership, completely independent of all the capitalist parties, the trade union bureaucracy and their defenders of the false left.

The Socialist Equality Group urges workers and young people to do so list here to attend our webinar to discuss these important issues and the way forward for the working class, in New Zealand and internationally.

Meeting time:

New Zealand: Sunday 8 November at 4pm
Sydney: Sunday 8 November at 14.00
India / Sri Lanka: Sunday 8 November at 8:30 am
New York: Saturday 7 November at 10:00

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New Zealand market, business welcomes Labor election victory | Instant News


New Zealand’s financial markets and business leaders were quick to welcome Labor’s resounding victory in Saturday’s general election. The Labor Party took 49.1 percent of the vote, up from 36.9 percent in 2017. The conservative opposition National Party surveyed 27 percent, the second-worst defeat ever.

With 64 seats in 120 parliamentary seats, Labor will form the first majority government since the proportional electoral system came into effect in 1996. Labor’s ally, the Green Party, received 7.6 percent of the vote and 10 seats. NZ First, a right-wing nationalist party and also part of the Labor-led coalition, failed to reach the 5 percent threshold for returning to parliament.

NZ Stock Exchange (Source: Wikipedia)

A New Zealand Herald Tuesday’s report, titled “Nothing to disturb the stock market at Labor Landslide,” stated that financial markets had taken the Labor Party victory “with their paces.” The New Zealand dollar was trading at US66.13 cents Monday, up from US66.04 late on Friday, while the stock market S & P / NZX50 index was “down a few points” at 12,418.61. Port Asset Management Manager Shane Solly said the Labor Party was widely expected to win and “nothing is clearly concerned about the capital market”.

Frances Sweetman, a senior analyst at Milford Asset Management writes at Heralds on Wednesday following the formation of a Labor-led coalition with Greens and NZ First in 2017, “business confidence plummeted and the already stalled housing market quickly shook to a halt.” Yet this time, anticipating “a second term of a centric government focused on maintaining the status quo,” he wrote, the stock market “is not turning a blind eye.”

Sweetman drew particular attention to the fact that the gross NZ50 index rose 53 percent over the three years of Labor-led rule, compared to a 36 percent gain for the US S&P 500 index under Trump’s pro-business presidency over the same period. .

Going forward, Sweetman said New Zealand companies were optimistic that Labor would be “too busy protecting the economy from a COVID-driven downturn and trying to keep new National voters from surprising them with something too business-unfriendly.”

A Kiwibank commentary described Labor’s announced policies as “suitable,” and likely to boost business confidence. Chief Executive Officer of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Leeann Watson said the election results would “bring certainty and a degree of sustainability to the business community”.

Salt Funds managing director Matt Goodson highlighted the Reserve Bank’s quantitative easing operations in response to the COVID-19 crisis. He stated that what “really matters” is “an extraordinary monetary policy experiment carried out with extremely low interest rates and quantitative easing, and that is unchanged for now.”

The central bank supports the financial system and bank profits by printing up to $ NZ100 billion to buy back government bonds. Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr has acknowledged that bank policies increase asset value and wealth inequality, but banks need to maintain business confidence.

The Ardern administration’s primary response to the economic crisis fueled by COVID-19 is the same as any other government internationally: the unprecedented handover of tens of billions of dollars to businesses, which have fired tens of thousands of workers. The government’s “wage” subsidy schemes have so far paid employers more than $ NZ14 billion.

Institute of Economic Research economist Christina Leung told Radio NZ that following the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, which were sued by businessmen and corporate media against the advice of health experts, “the business atmosphere, activities and outlook” have all improved. The country back to work means “profitability expectations” are now improving, he added.

It was revealed this week that major global conglomerates including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Asahi and Tesla, along with many local NZX-listed companies, have all claimed millions of dollars in COVID-19 subsidies before distributing huge dividends to investors. New Zealand retail giant The Warehouse Group posted an annual after-tax profit of $ 44.5 million after taking out a $ 67.7 million subsidy while cutting 1,080 jobs.

Ardern has already signaled that a formal coalition with the Greens cannot possibly be given the “mandate” of the Labor Party to govern itself and its desire to honor National supporters who vote for the Labor Party. While the special Labor government is claimed to be more “business friendly” than the Green Labor coalition, both parties are using the election campaign to convince the company elite that they will meet their demands. Ardern emphatically rejects claims that the Green Workers’ coalition will impose a simple Green Party “wealth tax,” which the Greens are quick to explain is not a “bottom line” policy.

Auckland real estate millionaire Don Ha said Labor’s absolute victory was “inspiring” and would create more “excitement” in the property market. Ha said the residential property market was already “booming” before the election, and that a “stable” government would create the same because people could invest “with confidence.”

Rising house prices are one of the main drivers of inequality and social hardship. They have increased 7.6 per cent in the past year and 27 per cent during Labor’s tenure. An investor spokesman pointed out that the government’s pledge to build 4,000 public homes and new transitions per year, even if they were fulfilled, is far from certain, “won’t even touch the surface, so there will be a huge demand. for rental properties. “

As housing inequality and affordability worsens, the consequences for workers are dire. Over the past three years, private rental costs have increased by about 15 percent and waiting lists for public housing have increased from about 6,000 individuals or families to nearly 20,000. Researchers estimate that at least 41,000 people, or one in 100, are homeless.

NZ Trade Union Council President Richard Wagstaff stated: “The workers are looking forward to working with this government. Both Labor and the Greens have committed to hearing the voices of the working people. We can make meaningful changes when we work together. “

Workers shouldn’t be fooled. The pro-capitalist unions have fully supported the award of the Labor Party to big business, and assisted in enforcing mass redundancy and salary cuts. They promise a lot more of the same. Their main demand for the new government is to introduce an industry-wide “Fair Payment Agreement” that will be approved by the state, employers and trade unions. This would involve a ban on industrial action while such wage deals are negotiated.

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