by Mark Muller
For the past two weeks stores members of First Union (formerly NDU) at Bluebird Foods have been running raffles on the worksite. They wanted to do something to show solidarity with wharfies fighting for their jobs. The union members raised $1120 and delegate Wayne Harrold handed over the money to the wharfies on the picket line today. It was the first day of the strike called for the next three weeks.
On the picket line a big bunch of wharfies crowded around and started shaking our hands. One striker said, “People think we don’t need the money but we’ve got to run the picket, run the campaign, and keep up our international contacts, and it all costs money”.
A old Sikh man in his 70s or 80s came up to the picket and started talking to the wharfies. At first they thought he was lost as he spoke little English. But he said, “no, this is where I want to be. I want to say I’m here to support you. The union is where the strength is.” He stayed on at the picket talking to the guys.
Workers said any inefficiencies on the wharf are due to the management. We don’t need the managers, we could run this port far more efficiently and all the wharfies could be fully employed, they said.
*Mark Muller is an organiser with First Union
Further Redline articles on the dispute:
Why wharfies are striking – in their own words
Public support for wharfies
Ports of Auckland: what should the left be doing?
Wharf boss suddenly for women’s lib?
Ports dispute an issue for all workers
Thanks to the wharfies