Friday, 6 September 2013

Come and meet a hero

There are people who work their guts out each and every day not only to achieve what some would consider unachievable goals within the society in which we live.

Of late I’ve been spending some time working with two wonderful young people who have both a clear and highly active vision of the future. What makes their individual efforts so outstanding is that they are doing this not for their own financial gain but because they clearly understand that collectively as social beings united we can improve the lot of those presently at the bottom of the heap.

Each has a story to tell, and their story is without doubt one that is shared by thousands of others throughout Aotearoa who in their own way represent all that is good within our society.

One was working in the fast food industry where the staff is treated like slaves in many respects…their working conditions are absolutely shocking at best and mind blowing at worst. Jobs where you’re working hours are changed daily; sometimes even hourly, where you don’t know what you can earn on a daily basis. Where you can’t even plan to save, or plan and develop a working model in which to bring up a family with some sense of security.

After a period she challenged the management to act as a good employer and to create and introduce a working model that had some sense of fair play and wage that was agreed as realistic and one on which one could live. She and a few of her fellow workers joined a new and progressive union named ‘Unite’ and together they challenged the neo-liberal government backed idiotic employment systems and won. They developed new collective agreements and slowly changes have been brought about that means that at least some of these ripped off and mainly young employees gained a degree of self respect. She now works for that union as a organiser assisting the delegates’ and members make some headway in achieving economic wellbeing. Her name is Bonita she is a young Maori woman who gives her all; to lift all those in need and who are being ripped off by unscrupulous big corporate fast food outlets.   

I read a text to the local paper in answer to a letter I had published relating to the creation of a livable wage. The writer was unknown, but he or she stated, ‘that you can’t just create a livable wage because if you do then employers would lay off thousands of staff’.

That is simply crap of the highest order…once upon a time and not too long ago a person earning a wage could save and get married and raise a family, even buy a home. Once upon a time the government dictated a yearly increase in hourly rates and during those times we had negative unemployment.

The government can should it so desire; dictate both the minimum and maximum wage or salary rates. Yes it did and it worked. We had little or no poverty back then.  
Right now the government is subsidising thousands of employers via the taxation and benefit system, by direct payments to hundreds of thousands of families. By doing this huge overseas owned companies have been able to keep their workers salaries low, while paying their CEO’s, top managers and Board of Directors and share holders massive salaries. No CEO of a hospital board is worth 400 thousand dollars per year, the CEO’s of banks are paid millions and millions, like wise financial rip-off artists.

So Bonita battles on, arguing on behalf of Unites members and other low paid employees…she is a hero…and she deserves better as do all like her.

Bonita will be speaking at the following event if you can attend please do so, we can all learn.

Can you please email out to your wonderful network
Thanks Dion Martin

From: Lawrence O'Halloran [mailto:Lawrence.O'] Sent: Wednesday, 4 September 2013 10:53 p.m.

Subject: FW: Catholic Social Justice Week public seminar - “Walk Alongside: Meaningful work for the young worker"

Kia ora Palmerston North and Manawatu Christian Churches & organisations

Local churches, Christians, their families and friends are invited to attend the 2013 annual Catholic Social Justice Week public seminar from 10am – 1pm on Saturday 14 September 2013 at the Palmerston North Diocesan Centre 33 Amesbury St, Palmerston North.

The theme this year is “Walk Alongside: Meaningful work for the young worker”. We have a full programme with a key note speaker, panel of young people, parliamentarians and politicians, questions from floor, and shared lunch.

We would be grateful if you would publicise this event in your church bulletin/notice this weekend, and send this email and attachments to any other networks you have please.

Yours in Christ

Lawrence O'Halloran
Chairperson Justice Peace and Development Commission
Palmerston North Diocesan
Phone: +64 6 350 5021

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