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Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki


Workers want decent redundancy provision.

Solidarity Union activists today protested at the Management Headquarters of MetroGlass iin Auckland's East Tamaki, to highlight the new Australian owner's intransigence on providing an adequate redundancy provision in their contracts. MetroGlass was recently sold for over $350 million to Australian speculators Catalyst Investments, in a surprising move that startled and upset workers.

"We have seen what happened at Feltex, and at Progressive, and workers in MetroGlass are concerned that despite repeated management promises the company would not be sold to overseas owners, it was. Now there is promises of no re-structuring or redundancies. Well, if this is the case, it won't cost MetroGlass a cent to include a decent redundancy clause in these workers contracts, since they promise they have no intention to lay anyone off".

"We've been waiting four months for management to get back to us on this issue", said Solidarity Union's Joe Carolan. "85 workers signed a petition in October in favour of a 10 by 2 redundancy agreement- 10 weeks pay for anyone laid off, with a further 2 weeks on top for every additional year worked at the firm. MetroGlass is one of Auckland's leading glass companies- the workers there think they should also lead the way in conditions and pay."

Management remained in their goldfish bowl, trying to ignore the loud,funk picket outside. The union challenged them to come out and debate on the open microphone, but were met with a wall of silence. In response, the sounds of Jimmy Cliff, Rage and Arethra Franklin cut through the din of factory machinery, to the honks and beeps of dozens of cars giving thumbs up to the Union.

For more info
contact Joe at 021 186 1450



Re: Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki

Who is Solidarity Union - I never heard of them before?
Was there some big rank-and-file ructions in one of the established unions that neccesitated a breakaway? Funny didn't hear about that either.

Solidarity Union's website (I did take a peek) says it is opposed to the established methods of unionism. YAY! But then their first website link ids direct to the CTU - the WELL established bureacracy of the union bureacracy!

The Solidarity Unions reportage on the MetroGlass dispute seems to indicate that the struggle is about a reduncdancy agreement.Workers are being alarmed by the purchase of the company by a FOREIGN interest and want to ensure a payout if this happens.

Now I'm really confused.
Didn't traditional unionism undermine itself in part by concentrating on getting tasty redundancy provisions (which demoralised members were later happy to accept)?

Didn't socialists rightly criticise this orientation as selling off workers jobs, not organising to fight for every last one?

And didn't traditianal unionism consistently try to use the bogey of the FOREIGN boss to scare workers into joining NZ unions and supporting NZ politicians and bosses (in the process giving comfort to those who like to demonise foreign workers)?
Why is natioanlity even an issue for a new unionism based on workers SOLIDARITY?

(oh look, even as I write there's that tosser Andrew Little (EPMU) on the TV commenting on the closure of a west coast coal mine - his main concern seeming to be that NZ workers would loose jobs because an AUSTRALIAN coal company won a Fronterra contract.
At least the EPMU delo' was way ahead of Little, pointing out that any laid off workers would still be required to increase production at the Australian owned mine which is just down the road)

Anyway I digress.

Good luck to any MertroGlass workers trying to organise their workplace, build a fighting union (whichever union) and defend their conditions.

But if we are to build a new unionism surely we have to move on from the (negative)lessons of the old.


Re: Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki

Perhaps Solidarność is setting up in NZ?

Re: Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki

It is a bold and ambitious project to set up a new workers union.
As a long time union activist I'm interested in the new Solidarity endevor.
I'd like to hear Solidarity activists response to IWD's questions. The questions deserve an answer and as well as that they raise another question.
If there is going to be a new radical strand of union activism in New Zealand it needs to break out of the old rotten tight arsed culture of the FoL and the CTU and create a climate of debate.
Over the last 30 years that I've been closely watching the union movement in this country I've noticed that the greatest crime you can commit in the eyes of union officialdom is to start a debate of any kind. Do that and you're "splitting and dividing the movement"
So I hope Solidarity come on this list or some other accesible place and put their view on the hard questions. Paraphrasing what the man said, we have to learn from the bad shit and move on and up into the light.

Don Franks

Re: Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki

No reply as yet Don.
but you-know is never wrong eh?

Re: Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki


should have said "you-know-who"


Re: Protest at MetroGlass in East Tamaki

I work for a subsidiary of an NZ SOE and have no redundancy clause in my contract. How many workers in this country like me face this prospect of zero redundancy pay? Unions could organise SOE workers by comparing pay and conditions with that of government departments which can involve very wide gaps in my experience.

With no redundancy pay workers are really just one step away from poverty. With my pay only affording me enough food to last a few days in my cupboards should my work and therefore pay cease I have barely more significant security as a worker than I do as a non-worker.

With WINZ having a mandatory income stand-down period of 1 to 10 weeks, depending on income levels, and since WINZ pay in arrears I would face at least 2 weeks with no pay should my work cease. I may be able to obtain advance payment of benefit for rent, which I would have to repay, further impoverishing me should I be unable to obtain new work.

I also may be able to obtain non-repayable assistance for food while awaiting my first benefit payment which would not cover my essential costs anyway.

Workers deserve better. We create the wealth and it's the bosses who get all the cream. Let's fight for a minimum of 6 months worth of redundancy pay so capitalist fatcats would be less likely to consider making workers redundant as a strategy to maximise profits.

If work does not benefit workers then work is exploitative and should be abolished or reformed. I put more faith in the former option for offering a more secure way of life, depending on how a world without exploitative would be organised.