Unions

 I’m watching with Interest the latest antics of the Aussie Acting and Film Union that’s holding the Sir Peter Jackson to ransom over the production of the Hobbit Film. This Union like most, sooner or later is destined to fall into the hands of power crazy people. Over the years we have had dozen examples of just how bad they can be. They seem to forget their prime function of looking after their members and welfare, without hurting other workers. More often than not, it becomes a personal ego trip. Not so long ago we never took a Holiday without the worry that the Cooks and stewards of the Maritime Unions yet again would be holding the country to ransom and tying up the Strait shipping. They didn’t care one jot about the disruption they caused to their fellow workers, and that’s what most of us are. In the case of the watersiders they were as bad, and one time held out so long in a strike, that the Government stepped in, and most lost their jobs. On this occasion the Union was deregistered as this time their leaders seemed to have lost all sense of reason. I was about to say that I have never had much to do with Unions, but on reflection that would have been a lie. At one time I was actually the National Banks Southern Guild representative. I didn’t ask or campaign for the job, but was given it by the management, who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Back then we had both a Union and Guild looking after the Bank Staff’s interests. When I went to Wellington to bargain for better conditions, the Union business took all of one minute to transact. All other business was then conducted by the guild, which wasn’t a militant organisation. I soon discovered that you could get what you wanted by a softly, softly approach. Much later the position was reversed and the Union became all powerful, and a pain in the butt. They seemed to prefer the confrontation approach, and one day they called a strike. I was a manager at the time, they had phoned my staff at the end of the day, to tell them that they were on strike immediately. However I was horrified next morning to hear a radio interview with the Union Secretary, that they holding a meeting with the city staff that morning to decide what action they were to take, and whether to strike or not. Yet they had my staff already out and sitting in the sun. I quickly reversed the situation and recalled the staff to put them back on side, until the Union had decided their next move. They did call a strike and my staff as it turned out were the only ones in the country still working. The media were quick to point this out to the union, and within a minute I had a Union Representative, chocking with rage on the phone advising me that he would see me sacked. He also called me several other undesirable names. I stopped him in mid stride and suggested that he address me from now on as ‘Brother’ as I was still a member of his Union. Something I hadn’t got around to resigning from. Before he could recover, I also demanded an apology, or I would also call a press conference and tell that they had decided to strike before any meeting was called. So the staff of all the Banks were actually being led along by the nose. The proof was that they had called out all of the outlying Branches a day early. He hung his phone up at this point as he found out he had met someone he couldn’t bully. I’m listening to the radio this morning and the main feature is concerning IHC and their staffing of their houses. It’s not so long ago the system of housing handicapped people was in large institutions was discontinued. These had all facilities for a sheltered life. However this system was superseded for what was called a more normal lifestyle, buying homes in residential areas. I don’t know who dreamt up their rules of conduct and their protocol, as they were turfed out of the homes at 10-00am in the morning, and not allowed to return until 4-00pm in the afternoon. I only found out about this from my Sister who came across a bunch huddled in an open Bus Shelter sheltering from the rain. This was at Port Chalmers where there is no where to go and while away their day, until they can return again to the comfort of their home. This was carried out in the name of progress. Here in the City I often come across a group or two, but they have many warm refuges, in the Malls or the Public Libraries. I’m glad none of our family have been lured into the bright lights of the Acting or Film Industry. Here in New Zealand we are too small, and I suppose it wouldn’t much different elsewhere. It’s either boom or Bust. I have watched those involved during he time a film is being shot. They all seemed to be paid large sums of money which they spend as fast as they receive it. Best flat in town, a BMW parked outside, fine dining every night. Then after a few months, or perhaps a year it’s all over. Contract terminated, car returned, flat vacated, and it’s back to the Dole or Mum, until the next contract.

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