Sunday, October 21, 2007
Labour Day isn't valued much in New Zealand these days...
Today is Labour Day here in New Zealand. But in 2007 it is a meaningless celebration. Since the right wing National Party implemented their fascist piece of industrial legislation back in 1991, the Employment Contracts Act, workers in this country have been treated more as a commodity than a valued part of their companies' workforces.
It was a different story back in the Wellington colony of New Zealand in 1840. A carpenter, Samuel Parnell convinced fellow tradesmen that there should be eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation and eight hours for sleep. His resolution was supported by his fellow workers, and fifty years later a parade was held in the streets of the colony to support his EIGHT HOUR day. The Government of the day legislated for a public holiday. This had become a reality by the end of the century.
This holiday was 'Mondayised' for the fourth Monday of October every year. There is a suburb in Auckland, Parnell, named after the working activist.
The present Labour Party, which has led the present government for eight years now, and was born on the backs of working trade unionists in the early part of the 20th Century, has really only modified the worst aspects of the Employment Contracts Act. They owe the workers of this country a huge debt for their continuing support, and have the ability to revive the original meaning of Labour Day. Have they the nous to do so?
The Writers Lounge