Not a good week for unions

It should have been a good week for unions.

The CTU and EPMU got plenty of publicity at the Labour Party conference last weekend and they tried to capitalise on that with marches against the government on Wednesday.

But that was all overshadowed by stories which put them on the wrong side of public opinion.

Few question the difficulties teachers face in their job. But demands for a 4% pay rise are out of step with the generally accepted need for frugality, and refusing to teach some classes when pupils are close to exams isn’t winning them any sympathy.

Nor is there much sympathy for claims by health workers when doctors say  strikes are putting patients at risk.

But the most damage to unions is that by the actors whose actions have put the filming of The Hobbit at risk.

Weta Workshop’s boss Sir Richard Taylor last night said the New Zealand film industry was “at some level of peril”.

He said a $670 million US-backed production of Tolkien classic The Hobbit could be produced elsewhere if a union boycott of the project was not lifted.

“We are deeply concerned it may [go overseas].

“Our industry is being put in a very dire place by very few people who have nothing to do with the film industry in New Zealand.”

A poll on the New Zealand Herald website last night showed 88% of respondents blamed the union for the Hobbit debacle and only 16% blamed Peter Jackson.

Phil Goff and his MPs have been notable for their silence on this issue.

That’s probably because it’s difficult for outsiders to discern much difference between unions and Labour so a bad week for one is a bad week for the other.

18 Responses to Not a good week for unions

  1. robertguyton says:

    Key blames the unions when in fact he/we are being played by Warner for more tax subsidies.

  2. robertguyton says:

    Right wing bloggers are cementing the idea that the teacher’s claims are all about ‘4%’ and neglecting to note the the nearness of the strikes to the exams should be sheeted to the Government for extending the issue for so long.

  3. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    Robert Guyton. No doubt about it, is there? And the gassing of six million was all the fault of the Jews?

  4. Inventory2 says:

    Well said Ele; Labour has hitched its wagon to the cart-horse of the unions, and as could have been predicted, Phil Goff’s King-Midas-in-reverse touch has kicked in. If Labour was hoping that the unions could lead them to victory next year, the last 72 hours will have been bitterly disappointing to the Red Team.

  5. Inventory2 says:

    @ Robert (7.28am) – New Line has just put out a release confirming that the first they knew of the union blacklist being lifted was when the media told them yesterday. Helen Kelly has been caught in a blatant lie.

  6. robertguyton says:

    Warners won’t come back then? The ‘unstable environment’ will keep them away?
    If they were to ‘return’, following an offer of tax concessions by Key, might you wonder at the real reason for their toy-throwing?
    If they don’t, I’ll own to being completely wrong.

  7. homepaddock says:

    Robert – there may be an element of gaming by Warners here but the opportunity for it was created by the union.

  8. Fredinthegrass says:

    Rg can you explain the deafening silence from Phil Goff and Andrew Little over the Hobbit issue? Is it because they just want the it to go away?

  9. Fredinthegrass says:

    Sorry. Last sentence should read…. Is it because they just want it to go away?

  10. toad says:

    Few question the difficulties teachers face in their job. But demands for a 4% pay rise are out of step with the generally accepted need for frugality…

    But a 4% pay rise for the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education is completely affordable.


  11. homepaddock says:

    Toad – I was surprised by that too.

    But a 4% pay rise for one person, albeit on a much higher salary than the average teacher’s, is a lot less in total than a 4% increase for thousands of teachers.

  12. robertguyton says:

    Fred – nope.
    Elle – ‘surprised by that’?
    Not ‘frothingly outraged by that’?
    You are very selective in your criticism but I suppose, if John’s okay with it, you’re okay with it.
    What do you think Ele? Is ‘John’ going to offer Warners a sweetened deal (our money, remember, we don’t like that, do we! Remember Mr Tao!

  13. robertguyton says:

    When are you going to do your ‘compulsory reo’ post Ele?

  14. Fredinthegrass says:

    Hmmmmm, concise Rg, concise.

    How about considering any “deal” offered to Warners as an investment.
    One that from comment from a range of commentators would have a significant return to NZ Inc.
    Benefits that provide work opportunities, income from offshore, not to mention a future for the multiple ‘trades’ that derive work from the industry.

  15. robertguyton says:

    Fred – I am considering those aspects as much as anyone else and don’t want to see those lost to NZ. However, when it comes to fairness I don’t agree that the greater good is an excuse for harming the not-so-powerful.
    I believe there are several issues running concurrently yet it’s convenient for those who oppose unions, no matter what the circumstance, to simplify things to suit their cause. Key is doing this, taking the opportunity to sheet criticism to the unions where it’s more complicated than that, as I’m sure you know.

  16. gravedodger says:

    RG brings to mind the old anecdote where the surgeon comes out of theater wearing a blood soaked gown and announces to the waiting family,”well the operation went really well but unfortunately the patient died”. Apportioning blame will be of no comfort to anyone in NZ if the disaster of losing The Hobbit production for this country and the subsequent destruction of the burgeoning film industry going down the toilet to satisfy the delusions of grandeur of a few self opinionated thespians in this country at the behest of the Australian unions, who will forever delight in that destruction.

  17. robertguyton says:

    You don’t want to know what really went down Gravedodger?

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