One thing has become abundantly clear to me over the 27 episodes of the Union Report. Jack and Jane may be as good as their master, but they sure as hell don't have the same negotiating power. We have historic inequality because the employment reforms of the 1990's dramatically weakened the NZ Union movement.
When bargaining with employers who have all the capital and power, working people have only one threat - withdrawal of their labour.
In 2014, we need politicians who will make giving Unions back their teeth the top priority. Unions can't negotiate with both hands tied behind their back, so political parties focused on reversing our inequality rates must give Unions back the right to strike and to engage in solidarity strikes.
Employers will never take bargaining seriously if the real threat of strike action is tethered and leashed into a good faith bargaining process that is more faith than good.
If we are serious about fighting inequality, we must give the Union movement back it's muscle. The right to strike and to strike in solidarity is a freedom of association the NZ worker must seize back and reclaim for the egalitarian good of this nation.
This Government has waged a war on Unions. The 90 day right to sack, a youth wage and new laws that will allow employers to walk away from negotiations at any time all feed into a labour market where 162 000 are unemployed and underemployment ranges to 18%.
On the 112th Labour Day, when NZ declared '40 hours a week is a fair deal' we need to remind ourselves that such progress never occurs without struggle.
The final Union Report for this year plays 8pm tonight on Triangle TV with Chris Trotter and Sue Bradford discussing the future of the NZ union movement.