AAD: Monday 21 May Howard Philips

21 May 2018

Howard Philips, vice-president of the RMTU in New Zealand, began his speech to delegates with a special greeting from Down Under: ‘Kia ora tatou katoa! Or greetings to all present, as we say in the Land of the Long White Cloud…


‘Given that New Zealand’s population is around that of Greater Manchester, we have fewer members than you – we hover around 5,000. But, like you, we have a long and proud history of struggle on behalf of our members, and the working-class, and, like you, we can only realise our full power and potential by educating workers in the full benefits of solidarity.


‘In New Zealand we have a system of PR and, since 2008, have been governed by a succession of centre-right coalitions, and seen the usual tired litany of right-wing politics – tax cuts for the rich, reduced spending on public health and education privatisation of state assets and attacks on organised labour, and a disregard for the ordinary people who try and keep our society from coming completely unglued.


‘Our union has a proud history of resistance. Our experience has taught us there is no substitute for vigorous campaigning, intregrated with a sound political strategy, built upon solid organisation. Because building organisation, on and off the job, and reaching out to the public, is how to keep the bosses and the politicians honest or, at least, keep them less dishonest.’




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