Not a good week for unions

22/10/2010

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.


Striking on a political whim

19/10/2010

The NBR reports:

Thousands of workers from Kaitaia to Bluff will stop work for two hours on Wednesday to attend union meetings protesting against the Government’s employment laws, says the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

Imagine the chaos if employers, contractors and sole operators stopped work every time they disagreed with government policy.

It wouldn’t happen of course because these people can’t afford to stop work on a political whim. Funny how the people they pay, can.

Is it just coincidence the strike is being called by the CTU which played a big role at the Labour conference last weekend?

Is it another coincidence that they they didn’t strike at the many actions of the previous Labour-led government which compromised productivity and provided disincentives to employment?


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