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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 8. October 6, 1942

New Zealand and the Miners

New Zealand and the Miners

When the Pukemiro miners went on strike, considerable interest was aroused—the whole business reached a climax, caused by the resignation of six National Party Ministers from the War Administration.

To begin with, the miners should not have stopped work at this time. But a grievavnce, however, is definitely not righted by imprisoning the men. From one point of view, therefore, the Government's action in releasing the strikers from sentence is justified—the production of coal is no longer held up. On the other hand, it gives the miners confidence to strike again should they wish to do so.

Coincident with the increased production of coal for the furtherance of the war effort—and there has been an increase in the amount produced—have been greater profits for the mine owners. But there has not been a corresponding rise in the wages of the miners.

For this reason, State control of the mines is to be commended. In New Zealand there is a Labour Party, which commenced its term of office promisingly. Now, they assure us that their management of the Waikato mine is not socialization—and this from a party whose initial policy was proudly that of socialization. The National Party's policy is in support of all that is connected with capitalism, and big profits, and exploitation, and all the rest of it. In this connection, I think the gentlemen who resigned from the War Administration nave everything to lose by doing so. Not that I mind, for if their inclusion in the administration of the country at all increases their chances of winning a party majority after the war, their resignations are a darn good job.

[The Federation of Labour statement covers the strike very adequately.

It says: "However justifiable the stoppage might be under normal conditions, any action which holds up war production is contrary to the polity of the trade union movement. Continued production, and with it the winning of the war, is as important in the preservation of the rights and liberties of the workers as the satisfactory settlement of industrial disputes.

"Moreover, there is adequate machinery, in which workers may repose complete confidence, for the adjustment of grievances without the necessity of obstructing the war effort. If the Waikato miners are confidence that their case is a good one, they should have no fear of submitting it to the disputes committee. To-day is a time when nothing can be allowed to impede our maximum effort."]