Zero percent won’t pay the rent

Last month the Green Party signed a

Memorandum of Understanding

with the

Service and Food Workers Union – Nga Ringa Tota

.  The MoU is a commitment between us and one of New Zealand’s largest unions to forge allegiances in order to work towards a fair and sustainable New Zealand society.

The election of a National-led Government has sparked newfound employer militancy, and public sector employers are among the most militant. Finance Minister Bill English announced in September that rising Government debt meant the state sector would face a funding freeze for up to five years, and many public sector employers are consequently refusing to negotiate on even modest pay claims on behalf of the most poorly paid employees.

These include hospital orderlies, cleaners and kitchen staff who earn as little as $14.62 an hour, and school support staff, teacher aides and librarians, some of whom earn as little as $12.94 an hour.  Many of these workers are represented by the SFWU with whom we have signed the MoU.  Others are represented by the


and by the



And the unions are fighting back on behalf of low paid public service employees.  On Friday 27th they have organised nationwide lunchtime (12.30pm – 1.30pm) rallies to protest against the public sector wage freeze and call for a fair deal for low-paid workers.

I’m planning to go along to support the workers at the Auckland rally, and hope as many frogblog readers as possible can get to your local protest.  Here’s a full list of rally locations:

Kaitaia - Cnr Redan/Commerce St
Whangarei - Main mall in the centre of the town – Cameron/James St Cnr
Auckland - Methodist Church on Queen Street
Thames - Outside the Civic Centre on Mary Street
Hamilton - Garden Place, Victoria St
Taumarunui - Next to library on “One Way Street”
Rotorua - Cnr of Arawa St and Ranolf St
Taupo - State Highway One – near Council Buildings
Tauranga - Red Square at bottom of town – Devonport St/The Strand/Spring St Cnr
Whakatane - The Strand/Commerce St (near roundabout)
Gisborne - Cnr of Gladstone Rd/Reads Quay (near the bridge)
Hastings - St Johns Hall, Southland Road
New Plymouth - Meet between centre city and Devon St (If wet: St Josephs Church)
Hawera - Salvation Army Hall Regent St, marching up High St to Chester Burrows office
Whanganui - Majestic Square on Victoria Ave
Palmerston North - PSA House King Street and then march to Square
Levin - Adventure Park Pavilion, Main Highway and then march down main street
Wairarapa - Old Folks Hall Cole Street
Wellington - Meet @ Loaves & Fishes 1100-1200, then go to Parliament
Nelson - Top of Trafalgar Street
Westport - Outside Hospital
Greymouth - Outside Grey Base Hospital, High Street
Christchurch - Victoria Square (march from TUC)
Ashburton - Checkerboard Town Centre
Timaru - Town Square cnr Strathallan and Strafford Sts
Dunedin - Octagon (march from Hospital)
Invercargill - Cnr Tay and Dee Streets