UNITE, VUWSA and the Workers Party

I blogged on the 15th about how the had expelled VUWSA Jasmine Freemantle from their ranks. I quoted:

The WP has tried to argue that I needed to consult with the Party and the Wellington branch before putting forward claims in collective negotiations. While it would be completely inappropriate for any VUWSA President to do such a thing in conjunction with their political party, such actions would be absolutely unprofessional in light of ’s relationship with the WP.

Now this sets up a real conflict of interest. Half the executive of the are on the payroll or involved with UNITE. So what you have is UNITE through the Workers Party trying to control both the employee and the employer. The Workers Party basically says that if you are a member and the VUWSA President, you must give in to all the demands from UNITE.

Now since I blogged about this around two weeks ago, I’ve had a number of interesting documents fall my way, including details of the changes that Freemantle is trying to negotiate to the contract – these changes that are so anti-worker that she has been expelled for.

First of all is requiring consent for annual leave to be sought in writing in advance. My God – how draconian. I mean what is wrong with the employer just working out when you don’t turn up, that you are on annual leave?

Then we have the unlimited sick leave provision. Now this is not just sick leave for yourself. Or for your family members. But also for your pet. Yes unlimited sick leave for you if your pet is sick. So restricting sick leave to seven days a year is obviously just complete fascism.

Then we have the oppressive salaries. The VUWSA contract has automatic salary increases every year. Anyone can rise to the of the scale – from the accounts clerk to the Salient Distributor.

The proposed of the scale is $37.04 an hour – a fulltime salary of $72,500. This is not deemed high enough by the who called it “Anti-worker and reactionary”. Even someone in their job for just a year, such as the Salient Editor gets $43,800. This may explain the lack of coverage of this issue in Salient 🙂

So the proposed change is that moving up the pay scale be considered as part of a performance review. And this is unacceptable to the Workers Party.

Somewhere in all this we should think of the poor Vic students. They are forced to join VUWSA and hand over $2 million a year to keep it going. They would like to think that they have an Association Executive that actually tries to get value for money out of the staff they fund. But when you have controlling the Workers Party, and the trying to dictate to Executive members what they must agree to (or face expulsion), it is no wonder it is the student who gets done over.

As far as I know, the contract negotiations are stalled. So will UNITE call a strike over the right of staff to have unlimited sick leave for their pets?

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