by Don Franks
Over a beer on the porch after work tonight I’m idly speculating about the good old days.
If the current Port dispute had happened in the ’70s:
*Militant unionists would have pressured a reluctant Federation of Labour leadership into convening a Special National Conference.
* In Auckland, Wellington and probably Christchurch and Dunedin there would have been indignant mass delegates meetings. More than a hundred delegates would have been at each North Island meeting.
* Delegates entering all the above meetings would have been deluged by five or six clamorous competing communist leaflets.
* Calls for a general strike to support the wharfies would have been moved at most of the meetings. At the central meeting, after lengthy debate, Bill Andersen would have either postponed the strike or set it for half a day, either of which would have been carried.
* At least one or two ships and a couple of other blue collar jobs would have taken spontaneous industrial action in support of the wharfies.
* None of the above would have needed to happen because the bosses would never have considered making such demands in the first place.
(The good old days weren’t really all that good, just a bit easier)