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Major industrial struggle in New Zealand

12 Sepember 2006

Hi comrades,

Attached is a pdf of the latest issue of The Spark, paper of the Revolutionary Workers League, the main component of the wider Workers Party organisation in NZ.  (RWL-WP is now the largest far left current in NZ, and 'The Spark' the largest-circulation far left paper in the country.)

This issue of The Spark contains substantial coverage of the most important industrial dispute in recent years, as the huge retail-food company Progressive (owned by Woolworths Australia) locked out its distribution workers in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch two weeks ago when the workers staged an initial 2-day strike.

The dispute has become a major test of strength between the union movement and the bosses.  As well as fantastic support from other workers in New Zealand, the locked-out workers are beginning to get international support.

We in the RWL/WP are in the thick of this dispute, especially as some of our comrades are organisers and delegates in the National Distribution Union (one of the two main unions whose members have been locked out; the other is the Engineers, where several of our comrades are also organisers and delegates).  Nationally, our small organisation has mobilised for the picket lines for the past fortnight, and is also involved in support work among other unions and workplaces where we are active and also in helping establish public support groups.  One of our comrades who is an NDU organiser and one of the key Auckland picket organisers has also been arrested, as have about a dozen picketers nationally.

Given that the governing Labour Party's anti-union legislation makes it illegal for one group of workers to take industrial action in support of another group (eg solidarity strikes and industrial action are illegal, as are "political strikes"), this dispute has the potential to challenge these laws and the capitalist Labour Party and its remaining influence in the union movement (only three or four unions here are still affiliated to Labour).

Please feel free to circulate this pdf widely and to reprint any material from it (of course, stating where it is reprinted from).

You can also check out the Workers Party website at and the National Distribution Union website at

Philip Ferguson

(Webeditors note:  We are carrying the main article on the strike in our news and analysis section.  The current issue of the Spark can be obtained by following the weblink offered by Phillip - )



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