So right now as I’m tapping this out its dec 21st, tomorrow it will be no surprise to anyone to hear that it will be the 22nd… a few years back I spent the 23rd (nz time) driving around and around in my blue holden station wagon (the one with the blown out muffler, it sounded badass in the car, outside it was like it needed to be put down) playing the clash over and over and over again. I was also crying…Joe Strummer had died and I was broken up, that night I gathered as many friends as I could find and we all watched westway to the world, I wouldn’t let anyone say a word but I needed to be with some folks and watch/listen to the clash.
I was one of those guys who had a badge that said that the clash were the only band that mattered, and for a good swag of my twenties it was true. They made me see and hear the world differently, they made me believe that anything was possible as long as I believed and also that hope must always be tempered with understanding of the world and the way it worked, the good the bad and of course the fucking ugly.
Now the Clash and strummer have been eulogized, fetishised and mythologised by better, smarter and more eloquent people than me, especially in the years since joe passed so in short I’ll just say that without their music I wouldn’t have the gig I’ve got now (the one I always wished I’d be lucky enough to have!), I’d be still slinging plastic bags into boxes at mainguard plastics in hornby or digging holes and fixing toilets in phillipstown. I’ve seen and done more than I ever hoped and the soundtrack to my adventures provided by joe and co. is as meaningful and as evocative as ever. I met strummer once, we talked about tattoos and cumbia music I traded him a sun records shirt for one of his (a piece of which I keep as a talisman in my guitar) and he was as engaging and accomadating as one could imagine or hope for.
Anyways about a year or so back the idea was mooted for the eastern to cover “London calling’ in its entirity at the now sadly earthquaked ‘goodbye blue Monday’ here in c-city. We never made it and now that building is down that idea may never come to pass. But we’ve since been dropping clash songs in and out of the set from time to time nailing some, killing others (sorry joe!). Anyways this Christmas we figured we’d offer something up as a tribute to joe on the anniversary of his death but also as a gift to all the friends and comrades that have helped, cared for and listened to us this year. So If you’re friends or family of The Eastern, have come to show, brought a record, sent us a message of kindness and goodwill or a just a little curious then we offer you up our shakey one take versions of two songs that I discovered through the clash (thanks to their sublime covers on Sandinista and The Cost of Living e.p. respectively).
‘Junco Partner’ and ‘I Fought The Law’…
follow the links below and you can download ‘em and spread ‘em round till your hearts content. Theres just one kicker…we hope that you like our versions (if you’re a clash fan or a fan of the original versions hopefully you’ll cut us a little slack on our efforts!) and accept them as a gift from us as simple as that…however we’d ask you to pay it forward a little if you do download. Heres the skinny!...we here at fort eastern have been concerned about the continuing lockout of the unionized anzco food workers down in marton here in the south island (the facts as we see ‘em below) the fact that its Christmas time and these folks have families means it’s a tough time becoming even tougher…
we’d like to offer you these songs for Christmas in the hope that in exchange and in the spirit of the season y’all may wanna offer up a little hope and solidarity to these workers and their families by donating a little to their struggle and to their Christmas! If you don’t have much money or the ability to donate then look it up on the net and have a conversation with someone about it, if you don’t swing this way politically but still dig the eastern and the songs we get it maybe you could donate some money to the sallies or city mission or the womans refuge somethin’ similar…
anyways hope that makes sense…songs for Christmas from the Eastern for you guys and whoever if you dig it pay it forward and drop something in the bucket…our pick is the anzco lockout…
if your unsure about how much anything big or small will do…
for those folks who are a little more tactile we have one hundred physical copies for sale also these are signed and numbered and won’t be repressed ever!...we’re slingin ‘em for $20 100% of which will go to the anzco defense fund…first in first served email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy (be quick)…
heres the account to donate money to...
kiwibank 38 9007089 4028 08 (this is the council of trade unions defense fund acc.)
or email email@example.com and we'll help.....
find below facts about the lockout What happened in this dispute?
• The union and the company (ANZCO CMP Rangitikei) have been negotiating to renew the collective agreement at the plant since April 2011.
• They have not been able to reach an agreement as the company has been seeking significant cuts in pay and allowances.
• It has stated that their goal is to remove 15% of the costs from the time a lamb enters the plant to it leaving.
• This has meant proposals to reduce both the hourly rate workers are paid and allowances with cuts of more than 20% in overall pay for workers.
• On 3 October the company issued a lock out notice. This notice locked out over 300 members of the meat workers union. It stated that to return to work the workers had to agree to the employers claim for a new collective agreement incorporating the new rates of pay and proposed changes to shift organisation.
• Before the lockout notice, the company put all the workers on annual leave for a week. During this week they contacted many workers one at a time and offered them individual agreements containing the pay cuts and told them that if they signed the lock out notice would not apply to them.
• Over 100 workers signed without union advice and returned to work. Many were migrants and the union believes they were given wrong information about the implications of not signing. These workers were also required to leave the union in order to sign these new individual agreements.
• These workers now on individual agreements, and the fact the season is not yet in full swing has enabled the company to continue to operate and leave the remaining 111 workers locked out (a lock out which took effect from 19 October).
The cuts include:
• Dropping maximum redundancy payments to 10 weeks from 15
• Reducing pay rates from $31.10 to $25.00 per hour for A grade positions and from $26.88 to $21.00 per hour for B grade positions at the top end dependent on maintaining kill rates and more if these are not maintained.
• Reduction in long service leave (devalued by 20%), night shift allowance ($11.30), daily gear cleaning allowance (6.25 per day) and breakdown payments.
• There was also a proposal to add a number of provisions that were objectionable to the union – a trial period, a requirement to keep working beyond shift ending times without pay to finish tasks, instant dismissal for evidence of gang affiliations of workers.
How much do these workers get paid?
• The annual income of these workers varies but on average they range from $43,000 to $46,000 with the bottom earnings as low as $23,000 and a top income of $53,800 which includes additional shifts etc. The workers have offered to take a 10% pay cut which is extremely significant on these low wages – but this has been rejected by the company.
Who does CMP Rangitikei employ?
• About 350 workers including butchers, boners, slaughtermen, Halal slaughtermen, labourers, janitors, yard hands, etc.
Who is the company?
• ANZCO is a private “New Zealand” company jointly owned by two Japanese companies: Itoham Food Inc and Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd, and the directors and management of ANZCO Foods Ltd. Each shareholder group individually owns more than 25% of the company. Sir Graeme Harrison is the Chairman of the Board and established ANZCO.
What do they do?
• ANZCO Foods has three core business activities: It procures NZ beef and lamb, processes “prime New Zealand product in local, state-of-the-art, accredited facilities”, and markets premium beef and lamb products to over 80 countries around the world.
• In its words : “Our profitable and customer-driven businesses result in an annual turnover exceeding $1.3 billion, making us one of New Zealand’s largest exporters.”
What is the company structure?
There company is made up of several businesses:
ANZCO Farms, Five Star Beef, CMP, Riverlands, ANZCO Prepared Foods, ANZCO Green Island, New Zealand Meat Marketing (NZMM), ANZCO Foods Australasia, Westmeat
Who do they sell to?
• ANZCO has a long standing partnership with the Waitrose supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. According to its website... “Waitrose is so passionate about our product that together with ANZCO, they invest significant time and money annually to work closely with us and our farmer producers, so they can fully understand our supply chain.” Waitrose prides itself on its supply chain quality.
• McDonald’s® ANZCO is a primary supplier of burger patties. • It also supplies food products to many other countries and companies around the
world. • It is big on Corporate Social Responsibility!
Who is CMP Rangitikei?
CMP is owned by ANZCO. It is a processing plant which processes lamb. It runs an On- farm Quality Assurance which it bills as a three-way partnership existing between customers, a group of leading farmers and CMP. Only animals from certified farms, raised according to the programme's standards and trucked by fully accredited transport operators are processed.
CMP operates groups to enable customers to meet with producers. It has established Producer Groups for Waitrose, Tesco, Aleph and Bull.
How can you support these workers?
The CTU has a bank account for donations. Ensuring these workers are not starved back to work is a priority. With such a large group of workers, sustaining the level of donations is a real challenge – bank account: 38-9007-0894028-08 NZCTU – Disputes Fund
• Adopt a family
We are asking for groups of workers to adopt a family and keep them in food. 21 meals a week – either food or money. We will give you a family that you can contact directly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend the picket
On State Highway 1 just before the Marton turnoff. Every day Monday to Friday. Go show your support. Contact Robbie for times: email@example.com
Join the facebook page Keep up with the dispute Locked out workers support group
• Join the campaign to target ANZCO customers for support
Particularly McDonalds and Waitrose. See facebook page for activities. • Email the company key shareholders:
Sir Graeme Harrison - Graeme.Harrison@anzcofoods.com Mark Clarkson – Mark.Clarkson@anzcofoods.com
- folk country punk rock etc etc