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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 2 April 23, 1942

Westfield Strike

page 2

Westfield Strike

The following letter was sent by the executive of the Victoria University College to the Auckland University College executive:—

"With regard to the action of your Association in connection with the Westfield strike, I have to advise you that the following motion was passed by my executive:—

'That this executive, while it regrets very much the necessity for a stoppage of vital production at this time, feels that it was most improper for the executive of the Auckland University College Students' Association to observe other than an impartial attitude in the present dispute.'"

The following reply was received:

"In answer to your letter of 23rd March the following motion was passed by my executive:—

'That this executive took no official action with regard to the freezing workers' strike; but on the other hand this executive feels that it is more capable of deciding whether or not to take action in questions that arise locally, than the students of Victoria College.'"

Commenting on the letter sent by Victoria, we would even question the reference to "vital production." On investigation "Salient" has found that there are vast quantities of tinned products already stored in New Zealand, awaiting transport. However, they are correct in deprecating strikes at the present time, unless such action is the only possible way of overcoming a position which if left unadjusted would cause greater harm to our war effort than the dislocation caused by a strike.

Less venial, however, is the attitude of the Auckland executive who regard the strike as a local issue. Strike-breaking is a practice abhorrent to large sections of the community and such action by a small section of the student body must prejudice students as a class in the eyes of these people. The record of students in the struggle for democracy and progress is one of which we may well be proud—and interference in industrial disputes against the democratic rights of the people is utterly alien to that tradition.