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What is Solidarity Union, and what does it do?

Solidarity Union is one of the youngest unions in Aotearoa. Many of us who formed it in August 2006 were activists and job delegates who wanted to go out and organise the unorganised- over 85% of workers in the private sector have no protection. In the last few years, the word UNION has come back in a big way in NZ- the Nurses Strike, the Stagecoach Bus drivers Strike, the SupersizeMyPay.Com campaign of fast-food workers, and the huge solidarity for the Locked Out Progressive Foodstuffs workers in Favona Road. However, unions still have a long way to go to. We think a new approach is needed, one that organises by area and not by industry. Most workers in New Zealand work for small sites, between 10 and 100 workers, that the Big Unions overlook or are not that interested in. An area approach organises all these people street by street, giving them a sense of their own power. So far, we have concentrated our fire power on two areas of South Auckland, where we have made our first break throughs. Many of us have had negative experiences of bureaucracy in Big Unions. With Solidarity, we want workers to run the union themselves, through local Workers Councils. We are not interested in being insurance salespeople, or recruiting a thousand passive members who pay dues to pay rent for a big office and a swish car. We want to see a return to the fighting spirit of New Zealand's first unions, the Red Feds, and think that South Auckland's industrial estates are an industrial uprising ready to explode. That's our mission, and anyone angry about poverty and social injustice is welcome to help us.

What type of worksites does Solidarity Union largely concentrate on?

Everything within our area- Small worksites with 6 workers, where we stopped an unfair dismissal and changed the power relationships radically. Van drivers for a Courier firm, who are largely immigrant and are being ripped off by an unscrupulous management who lied about their prospects in NZ. Maori, Pasifika and Pakeha workers at a big Glass factory, who have just been sold out to an Australian asset stripper and are worried about redundancy and their jobs. We organise and defend anyone and not just the traditional industrial working class either. Call centre workers, video store workers, students in dead end McJobs- we support them all.

Why are unions important for workers?

Everybody knows about the power imbalance at work. Bosses treat us like robots, children or slaves. Some of them are okay, but even then, they practice a reverse psychology where WE are supposed to be grateful to THEM for a job. That's bullshit- the only reason an employer gives you a job is to make profit out of you. And that profit is unpaid wages. Surplus value. Exploitation. Pure and simple. So we want to change the power imbalance back to benefit our side. We help bring to an end the culture of bullying and intimidation, introducing respect and proper grievance and disciplinary procedures in the workplace. We have zero tolerance for racism, and organise immigrant workers as a priority. They are some of the most terribly treated workers in Auckland at the moment- we are organising one worksite of mostly Chinese and Malaysian workers who are paid absolute minimum wages to work with poison and chemicals, in a Dickensian sweatshop atmosphere. We believe in workers power, international unity, and an end to poverty and exploitation. As a wise man once said, Philosophers interpret the world- the point is, to change it. That�s why unions are important for workers- they are our only weapon to improve our lives and conditions.

Build the Fighting Fund

Support Solidarity in the struggle

Solidarity Union has been organising low paid and migrant workers in South Auckland. Now battle is about to be joined at several of our sites- low pay, bullying, racism are all major issues. Solidarity relies completely on the voluntary work and support of our members and supporters. And we are fighting some seriously wealthy companies for low paid workers. Help keep a soldier in the field- give a one off donation, join the union for $5 a week or take out a solidarity Automatic payment. Help build the Solidarity Fighting Fund. KIWIBANK 389005 0346407 00


Solidarity Union keeps our fees low, but provides maximum support for workers by building up strong area Workers Councils. Workers only get respect if we are organised. The fees for Solidarity Union are $4.90 per week for full time workers or $2.90 for part time workers (less than 30 hrs work per week). This enables us to put full time organisers on the road and on your street, who stand up for your rights at work and help co ordinate our campaign. You can join over the web if you want

Local Solidarity

Campaigns that we support-

  • ShelfRespect.Org- NDU
  • Free Public Transport- Climaction
  • No Youth Rates- Radical Youth
  • Clean Start- SFWU
  • Solidarity with Venezuela
  • Learning from the past

    the real history of the Workers movement in NZ:

  • Labour's legal ban on workers' right to strike.
  • The Red Feds- first unions in NZ
  • New Zealand's three big class wars - 1913, 1951, 1991

  • "Nine Good Ways to Win a Strike"
  • 1934 Minneapolis Teamster Rebellion
  • French revolts in 1968 & 2006
  • Beat the Brands