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

Freezing Workers

Freezing Workers

We thanked Mr. Hill for an interesting half hour and made next for the Trades Hall where we were welcomed by Mr. Thompson.

"Yes, there have been many students working alongside our men," he said, "and the majority of them are good workers and union conscious. But there has been a small minority which has refused [unclear: to] join the union. Because they may occupy white collar or technical positions they seem to forget that they also are workers and are unwilling to join a union. I have a list here of obstinate cases; you may recognise some names."

We had to admit that the University was fairly well represented.

"A few facts may open their eyes," continued this forceful unionist. "Let us consider the 1935 figures for wages alone; these are by no means the lowest. Slaughtermen and boners then received two shillings and two- and-twopence respectively. Today they get three-and-six, and three shillings. The lowest paid adult then received one-and-eleven, as against two-and-sevenpence today.

"A point of interest to you—in 1935 a boy did not attain adult pay until he was twenty. The maximum wage below this age was thirty-five shillings a week. That maximum is now three pounds, adult rates are given at the age of nineteen, and any boy holding down a man's job must receive adult pay."

Figures floated before us; the files were brought out in evidence of past struggles by the freezing workers and of their growth into the present powerful organisation.

"Now, these men have fought for years," continued the secretary. "They have struggled for security for their families and themselves. To see a few individuals accepting their achievements without supporting the organisation which won them, annoys them. We very nearly had a work stoppage at Ngahauranga over a student who refused to pay union fees."

Mr. Thompson is a busy man. He concluded:

"This was only one student out of the thirty odd employed there. As a rule we welcome your boys. They are good workers, intelligent and keen. At the present moment, when some of our members cannot understand that their militancy must be employed, not in strikes, but in the battle of production, they are the type of men we want in the unions, and want badlv."

"Salient" was well satisfied, and, we think, so should you be. Here is the case.

The task of fulfilling our war effort to the utmost depends upon the working class, of which we are members. The task at the moment is to mobilise the workers behind production, and to prevent the provocative attitude of certain types of employers, who place their own profits before the interests of the country, from causing strike action. The whole labour front must be strong enough to resist and ignore these attempts; the component bodies—the unions—must be strong, and in this we can help.

When [unclear: on an] industrial job, join the union, support and strengthen it, expose wavering elements or bad leadership, and do your bit in this People s War.