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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

Militants Isolated

Militants Isolated

It seems quite apparent that Labour's substitute for the Stabilisation of Remuneration Bill and the harsh penal clauses of the National Government's Industrial Relations Bill is going to be an alliance with the right-wing of the Trade Union movement to effectively stifle any union, or section of workers, who threaten to rock the boat.

At the F.O.L. Conference Skinner stressed the need for trade unions to act 'responsibly'. "The Government has taken over the economy poised in a difficult position... it would be easy to push it into another recession that would hurt everyone. Those who have the interests of New Zealand at heart would want to avoid this, and by responsible action they can avoid it particularly by following courses of negotiation and settlement of disputes without recourse to work stoppages, unless there is no course left open to them".

The Labour Party and the F.O.L.'s present industrial policy is merely a repeat of what happened in the 1940's. At that time the boss of the F.O.L., Fintan Patrick Walsh, was head of the Stabilisation Commission which played a very important part in running the economy. Walsh managed to keep the unions submissive until 1949 when the Auckland Carpenters Union rebelled. Then Walsh combined with the leaders of the Labour Government, Peter Fraser and Walter Nash, to smash the carpenters.

Any union which wants to buck the present industrial policy will face the opposition of employers, the Federation of Labour executive, the right-wingers who control Trades Hall and, lurking behind everything, Lee Kuan Kirk.

Cartoon of Norman Kirk wearing a crown