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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 7, No. 1 March 28, 1944


Over the recent vacation practically all full-time university students, either via the Manpower Office or of their own volition, took up work in freezing chambers, woolstores, tobacco farms, orchards, or on the wharves.

Most of these took a good attitude to the particular unions associated with their industries, joined up, paid their fees, and took an active interest. There were, however, certain elements who did not realise either the necessity or the moral obligation of supporting their unions.

There appear to be two reasons for this:—

Firstly; a considerable number of students moved from job to job at intervals of three weeks or a month and were required to stump up union fees on each new project. While they were entitled to a considerable rebate on these fees it was often difficult to collect. They did not know the correct way to go about it and in certain of the weaker unions were [unclear: hampered by bureaucracy] in the trade union leadership. This position can be remedied from both sides. As is already the case in some unions, dues should be levied on a weekly basis. It is suggested that the Victoria Students' Association approach the Wellington Trades Council with a proposal to this effect. Of greater importance, however, is the second reason for student apathy towards the unions and it is with this that we are mainly concerned.

Students take vacation jobs to pay their way through the University in the following year. They have a less responsible attitude to the organisation which has built up and preserves working conditions. They lack the background of struggling for a living for themselves and their families and have little or no knowledge of the conditions preceding the advent of a strong union.