Search Unions21

News + blog

Kiwi Lessons In Union Innovation or From Middle-Earth to Game of Thrones

The new series of Unions21 podcasts kicks off with Becky and I going half-way round the world – metaphorically only I’m afraid – to spend some time with New Zealand trade unionists Andrea Fromm and Kirsten Windelov, of the 70,000 strong Public Services Association.

The podcast was recorded before the terrible events of 15 March, and we send our sympathy and condolences to those affected by this terrorism and stand in opposition to islamophobia and racism wherever it occurs. A PSA statement is here.

Although 12,000 miles and 13 time zones away, there are important lessons to learn from some impressive initiatives.

Collective bargaining rights for freelancers anybody? In New Zealand this is just a short legislative push away from being reality following the repeal of the so-called Hobbit’s Law.

Platforms that promote worker rights rather than abuse them?  MyCare is a live case study in looking at new web-based ways of finding work in a whole new way.

The PSA – as many NZ unions do – consciously acknowledges and promotes indigenous Maori culture. “Bi-culturalism”, as is it termed, certainly relieved me of some vicarious post-colonial guilt, but as a way to live your values on inclusivity, it certainly makes you think.

Closer to home

We also take a look at the fantastic victory of the Pharmacists Defence Association Union (or PDA for short) in their campaign for recognition in Boots. Only 266 people out of nearly 7000 voted to support the company’s “sweetheart” alternative. If I had employees so disenchanted with me as an employer, I’d be worrying. We’ll get the full story from the PDA’s Paul Day in our next podcast at the end of the month. (Meanwhile, you can catch up on the background in our episode from last spring.)

Last but not least, we celebrate the outlawing of zero-hour contracts in Ireland. While this is certainly a big step forward, the ban is not absolute, and employer could try and “game” the new system. But for the most poorly paid and badly treated, it is very good news. How to address one-way flexibility in the workplace is something I am sure we will return to, and the government is poised to consult on a UK response to the problem, following Matthew Taylor’s review and Low Pay Commission advice.

We have lots to look forward to in this, our 4th series with some great guests – if you subscribe on the podcast provide of your choice (and we are on Podbean, iTunes, Mixcloud and Spotify) you won’t miss a thing.

Download, listen, share, rate, enjoy!