Mike's Minute: Unions don't have the country's best interests at heart

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 19 June 2018, 7:31AM

Looks like we are heading for a winter of discontent.

Nurses, IRD, MBIE, Burger King, Events Cinema, teachers, principals. Have I missed anyone yet?

Thousands upon thousands are currently spending their hard earned time and energy working out whether they want to take some form of industrial action.

It has been many a year since we have seen this sort of pending disruption in our workforce.

In 2016 there were 3 strikes involving 430 people, those are latest numbers, and if you go back over the past bunch of years it varies year to year but the indisputable statistic that smacks you between the eyes is the simple truth that we got on with life and turned up to work.

Industrial action was a thing of the past.

As a kid who grew up in the 70s and had holidays stalled because of the pre-determined Cook Strait ferry action, it was part of the social landscape of my formative years.

People like Ken Douglas and Pat Kelly were household names on the news most nights with claims and threats. There seemed there was always someone with a grievance, a claim, a stop work meeting or a picket.

As a result of watching all this, by the time I hit the work force at 16 and one of the first people to come and say hello was the companies union representative, I had formed the view that, by in large, unions were of little genuine use.

And they simply spent too much of their time looking for trouble.

So even at 16 fresh out of home on the minimum wage I turned down the several dozen offers that were made to join. And thought i might back my own talents and work ethic.

And the sad thing about what we are seeing right is that it would appear we not have learnt from the past decade.

You don’t know you have it so good, until you don’t have it so good.

You forget about strikes and industrial action if there isn't any.

But, if what we are seeing right now takes off, it will be the 70s all over again.

The nightly news filled with anger, grievance, strikes, pickets, claim and counter claim.

Not that there aren't a few who probably deserve a better deal.

But here's your cold hard truth, unions don’t get it for you.

I have never once seen an offer of 2 percent rejected by a union, a strike to follow, and the employer brought to their knees and a new offer of 9 percent.

It doesn’t happen.

They scrap over scraps, and all that ends up happening is a divisiveness in the workplace that could've and should've been avoided.

Unions do remember, members wise, are a pale shadow of what they once were.

So what we're seeing right now is a recruitment drive.

They have their old favourites in power, the government have talked up the misery and woe, and the unions smell the good old days.

They live to feather their own nests, they long for memberships and subscriptions, and the power to have the nations' boardrooms at their mercy.

They do not have this country's best interests at the top of their lists. They didn’t under Pat Kelly, and they don’t now.

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