Press Release – Unite Union
The Auckland City Council has threatened to arrest the head of the Unite Union Matt McCarten and campaign volunteers tonight if they attempt to gather signatures in the union campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Auckland City Council Threatens Unite Leader
The Auckland City Council has threatened to arrest the head of the Unite Union Matt McCarten and campaign volunteers tonight if they attempt to gather signatures in the union campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Volunteers from the Campaign for a Living Wage will gather in Princes Street outside the Lantern Festival tonight at 6pm to exercise their democratic rights to collect petition signatures as they have done a many other public events.” said Campaign organiser Joe Carolan.
“The council’s threat comes after senior council bureauacrats had two dozen police and security guards surround a campaign stall outside the Lantern Festival last night. The council instructed the police to arrest everyone. The over the top intimidation by the council was a scene more reminiscent of Tianenmen Square than the Lantern Festival. After a stand off for more than an hour the police accepted the union had a right to be there and withdrew.”
“Community events are public events, open to the people of New Zealand, and largely paid for by the taxes of working people.” said Unite leader Matt McCarten.
“After the failure of their attempt to have people arrested last night a senior council bureaucrat Daniel Harrison informed Councillor Graeme Easte today that he will tell police to arrest petitioners on the basis that the petition activity is hawking. This is nonsense and a deliberate mis-use of council by-laws.”
“Our union will be defying this undemocratic ban, and we have received support from Councillors Easte, Waiheke Island Councillor Denise Roche, and AUSA President Elliot Blade.”
We also think it is interesting that the council tried to remove our union stall last night only half an hour before the arrival of John Key and John Banks on the street known opponents of our campaign.”
“This is an important democratic principle and we will not be intimidated by a council that intends to use police to arrest us tonight” says Mr McCarten
“Is this the style of leadership Mr Banks wants to give the city and Mr Key the country where police are used to illegally deal to democractic rights”